Dissertation Defense – Adrienne C. Goss

March 12, 2014 @ 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
College of Education, room 409
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303

Push Back on Push Out: Parent Organizing for School Discipline Reform
by Adrienne C. Goss

School-to-prison pipeline research and scholarship points to a need for parent and community involvement in addressing school discipline policies and culturally sensitive approaches to reducing disparities in school discipline. Few studies identify evidence of significant impacts of parent and community involvement or culturally sensitive approaches on school discipline (Schutz, 2006). There is, therefore, a need for empirical research on impacts of parent and community organizing in school discipline reform activities.

African American students, Hispanic students, and students with disabilities are more likely to be suspended than White students and students without disabilities (Losen & Martinez, 2013). Studies suggest a link between harsh
discipline policies and later involvement in the juvenile justice system (ACLU, 2008; Fabela et al., 2011; NAACP, 2005; Nicholson-Grotty, Birchmeier, & Valentine, 2009).

My research on a parent community organization examined these research questions: 1) How did members of the organization work to raise parents’ awareness about and engage them in school discipline reform, including culturally sensitive approaches; 2) What factors supported or hindered the organization’s ability to raise parents’ awareness and support their activism; 3) What impacts has the organization had on the participants, community, and school system to date; 4) Is the cultural heritage of the participants relevant to the community organization’s work; and 5) What can the organization do to improve its efforts in the future?