Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Kelly


Black males represent the largest population of students suspended from school at all grade levels across the US. Rooted in the power theory framework, this study was designed to gain insight into the disciplinary values and practices of public elementary school principals serving students living in impoverished communities across the five counties of New York City and the impact on Black male students. Conducting an explanatory-sequenced, mixed-method research design, a sample of 100 elementary school principals answered questions using the Disciplinary Practices Survey regarding their beliefs on the best approaches to managing student misconduct. Successively, individual interviews were held with seven principals, who were asked to expound upon their survey responses as they related to their Black male populations. Results revealed that principals generally had favorable attitudes toward the use of positive approaches to managing student behavior, embedded in referent and reward power sources. A closer look into various subgroups of the principals revealed that Black and male principals were most inclined to use suspensions as a means of addressing student misconduct. While principals reported Black males students as having higher incidents of misconduct compared to their peers, they did not identify their behaviors to be exclusive to their race or gender. Principals offered mitigating circumstances associated with poverty as contributors to some of the misbehaviors displayed. Recommendations for future research and professional development include exploring the intersection between race, culture, and masculinity on classroom management, as well as how adultified roles at home impact children’s conduct in school.

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