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Teachers’ Use of Exclusionary Discipline Practices with Black and White Preschool Students Displaying Disruptive Behavior

Sat, March 23, 12:45 to 2:00pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 1, Exhibit Hall B

Integrative Statement

Minority students are disproportionately disciplined in school and are at a much higher risk of experiencing exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspension or expulsion; Gilliam, 2005; Skiba, Arredondo, & Rausch, 2014), which may be exacerbated when the student is in a classroom with a teacher of a different race (Skiba et al., 2011). The disparities in the use of discipline have serious consequences for the children who are being excessively punished, such as placing them at risk for lower academic achievement, dropping out of school, and becoming involved in the criminal justice system (Carter, Skiba, Arredondo, & Pollock, 2017). The disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline are found not only for K-12 students, but also in preschool, where children are three times as likely to be expelled than children in K-12 (Gilliam, 2005). Of the studies on the effects of teacher and child race, few have focused on preschool children, with even less research on the association between teacher-child race match and use of discipline practices. This is an important area for further research as preschool is an important time for children’s academic, social, and behavioral growth (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). When that time is reduced, either by traditional exclusionary discipline practices (i.e., suspension or expulsion) or “soft” exclusionary discipline practices (e.g., sending a child to another teacher’s classroom, time out), children miss out on those opportunities for early learning.
In order to learn more about the association between teacher and child race and teachers’ use of exclusionary discipline practices, the current study examines both descriptive data on how often teachers are using exclusionary discipline strategies and which strategies they are selecting, as well as how teacher-child race matches or mismatches are related to Black and White preschoolers’ teacher-reported use of exclusionary discipline for children displaying disruptive behavior. Participants include 325 preschoolers and 144 teachers who participated in a large randomized control trial. Use of exclusionary discipline practices was collected at the end of the year. To account for the nesting of children within classrooms, the current study uses multilevel modeling data analysis techniques. Participation in the intervention is controlled for. Initial results indicate that White and Black students with teachers whose race does not match their own are more likely to experience exclusionary discipline in their classrooms, suggesting that race-match rather than race alone is important to consider in relation to exclusionary discipline practices. Planned analyses include an in-depth descriptive analysis of the types of exclusionary discipline Black and White preschoolers experience broken down by sub-group, in addition to the frequency with which they experience these different strategies and factors associated with differing rates of exclusionary discipline experiences. Findings from this study may contribute to the literature by indicating whether teacher-child race match could be related to the racial discipline gap in preschool.

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