Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Hope Wilson

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Kulp

Third Advisor

Dr. Katrina Hall

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Angela Mann


Despite the lack of research supporting zero tolerance policies and practices, these exclusionary practices and policies have resulted in the doubling of the number of students suspended from school. They contribute to exclusionary consequences and, in effect, these practices create negative academic, social and emotional outcomes for students often resulting in students entering the criminal justice system (school-to-prison-pipeline), which disproportionately impact Black students, students with disabilities, and children living in poverty. These facts are especially troubling since there is ample research that discipline practices supporting student physical, mental and social well being such as Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), School Wide Positive Behavioral Supports (SWPBIS/PBIS) and Restorative Justice (RJ) practices (e.g., Restorative Family Conferencing). Evidence-based practices like SWPBIS, SEL, MTSS, PBIS and Restorative Practices are showing promise in ameliorating the negative outcomes of exclusionary discipline resulting from these zero tolerance laws. This case study examines the implementation of Restorative Family Conferences (RFC) with 79 students and families at an Northeast Florida alternative school and follow up interviews with 7 students that were identified as representative of the most overrepresented groups from the alternative school demographic breakdown and analysis of data. The goal of this study was to observe if this approach lessens exclusionary factors, increases school connectedness, communication, and overall perception of the school system practices to students and families that participate. Findings of the implementation of RFC in this Northeast Florida alternative school indicate multiple positive impacts from the restorative practice of Restorative Family Conferences.