School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


James A. Swezey


Alternative Discipline, Case Study, High School, Implementation, Restorative Justice, School Discipline


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Other Education


This qualitative study uses a multiple case study research design to examine the implementation and development of restorative justice (RJ) practices currently adopted by three high schools in California. Interviews were held at each of three participating public high school sites with the principal, an administrator in charge of student discipline, and a school counselor. Documentation, such as office referrals, and archival records were analyzed as part of the data collection process. The participating high schools are all located in California and have enrollments between 1,600 and 2,000 students. Each of the schools adopted RJ programs to address student misbehavior in place of traditional exclusionary practices, suspension and expulsion. This study highlighted the use of mediation, peace circles, and Behavioral Support Centers as the most popular, and most effective, RJ strategies. Students referred to RJ programs were perceived by the participants to exhibit improved behavioral decision making and lower levels of recidivism than students experiencing the punitive discipline programs in place prior to RJ. This study also identified the resource commitment required for RJ to succeed. The investment in both time and money required for the implementation of RJ is significant. Community involvement in the process of RJ was not found to be an essential component of the program at any of the three schools. Data was analyzed through a process of coding and a cross-case synthesis was developed.