Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Lahnna Catalino

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Rights Information

2018 Mariah G Farris


Statistics show that suspension and expulsion rates are very high in K-12 education in the United States, and a range of studies indicate that these disciplinary strategies have long-term negative impacts on the success of students. This study evaluated perceptions of retributive and restorative approaches to discipline in schools through a two (restorative process versus retributive process) by two (restorative outcome versus retributive outcome) design. Two hundred and forty-one participants were recruited online and in person for this study. They each read a vignette that presented one of the four versions of a disciplinary procedure. Then each participant indicated their agreement with a series of statements addressing perceptions of fairness of the disciplinary action; the student’s sense of being cared for by the administrator; the emotional response of the participant to the vignette; and estimates of the likelihood of recidivism. Results demonstrated that participants perceived more restorative process and outcomes or consequences to be fairer than retributive outcomes, and perceived restorative outcomes to be associated with an increase in a student’s sense of being cared for by the disciplinarian. These results align with other research suggesting that retributive discipline is often perceived as unfair and that students come to feel that the school does not care about them. This study supports a need for more research on the impacts of restorative justice approaches, particularly regarding the assignment of outcomes or consequences.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.