Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wholeben, Brent E.||Burgin, Ximena D.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Educational leadership; School management and organization


This is a qualitative research study of the educational impacts that a zero-tolerance expulsion has had on now-incarcerated students. The data collected from face-to-face interviews at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice facility in St. Charles, Illinois. The theoretical framework of the research is built upon Critical Race Theory that provides a setting in which to examine the realities, both long-and short-term that is associated with these expulsions. The researcher interviewed six participants who qualified for this research. The qualifications for participation were that the individual is at least 18 years old, and have been expelled for a zero-tolerance infraction. The study's research questions were the following: #1 What educational opportunities were available to the participants after their expulsions? #2 What factors influenced participants' decisions to take advantage of, or not take advantage of, other educational opportunities after their expulsions? The researcher created the interview questions and used a technique of constant comparison to develop initial codes and themes. These initial themes were then used to create extended themes by theming the data. The results of theming the data were then utilized to organize the framework of the literature review. The data that collected from the interview participants was used to answer the two research questions and identify gaps in the research. The data from the interviews also aided in the creation of the recommendations for future research and the recommendation for practice. The data collected showed that expulsions for zero-tolerance infractions, in conjunction with a lack of appropriate due process, contributed to a school-to-prison pipeline and left students with few, if any, further options to continue or to complete their education. The recommendation for practice includes the training of administrators and school boards who make decisions regarding expulsions as well as a recommendation for universities to offer an endorsement to the current Type-75 administrative certification that specializes in working with at-risk students and alternative schools.


Advisors: Brent Wholeben; Xemina Burgin.||Committee members: Patrick Roberts.||Includes bibliographical references.


vii, 225 pages




Northern Illinois University

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