Rural School Administrators’ Perceptions on Zero Tolerance Policies

Jacob Brushaber-Drockton, Stephanie Fredrick, Sarah Domoff, Sandra Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An established body of literature demonstrates the ineffectiveness of exclusionary discipline measures (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) and their overuse with vulnerable student populations. Despite this established literature, little investigation into the use of exclusionary methods in rural schools has been completed; therefore, this study aimed to address school administrators’ attitudes and perceptions regarding the effectiveness of disciplinary measures and factors considered when deciding to suspend or expel a student. This study’s participants consisted of rural high school principals from one state in the Midwest (N = 10). To develop a foundation to guide future studies on the topic of suspensions and expulsions in rural schools, this study implemented a qualitative approach, resulting in the identification of themes consistent across participants. Three primary themes were revealed: perceptions of restorative practice, relationships and communication, and factors influencing discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-176
Number of pages13
JournalTranslational Issues in Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Expulsion
  • Principals
  • Restorative justice
  • Rural schools
  • Zero tolerance


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