Teacher perceptions of Black female and male student behavior and resulting exclusionary discipline practices
Black boys and girls are disproportionately excluded from classrooms, leading to worse school and justice system outcomes than children of other races. Minimal qualitative research has been conducted on gender specific analysis of disciplinary data, though there has be an increased interest in conducting both qualitative and quantitative research taking gender into account. This study seeks to identify gender specific patterns in office discipline referrals by teachers to better understand how teachers describe discipline worthy behaviors by student gender. A phenomenological qualitative analysis was conducted using one year of office discipline referral data from a U.S. southern urban K-4 public charter elementary school. The data were analyzed separately by gender, using both deductive and inductive coding. Findings suggest teachers perceive male and female students as intentionally behaving in ways which teachers have difficulty managing and which are perceived as disruptive to the classroom environment or disrespectful to the teacher. Girls were found to be referred more for disrespect and boys more for disrupting the class and leaving class without permission. Recommendations include more detailed reporting on all types of exclusionary discipline, including in-school suspensions, operationalization of discipline worthy behaviors and consequences and gaining student perspective on discipline practices.