The more you talk, the worse it is: Student perceptions of law and authority in schools

Doreet Rebecca Preiss, Richard Arum, Lauren B. Edelman, Calvin Morrill, Karolyn Tyson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Prior works have established the association between students’ perceptions of school discipline and both behavioral and academic outcomes. The interplay between disciplinary fairness and students’ perceptions of their rights, however, warrants further investigation. In an effort to better understand the development of students’ perceptions of school disciplinary climates amid variation in school legal environments, we identified students’ perceptions of their due process rights based on 5,490 student surveys and 86 in-depth interviews in New York, North Carolina, and California high schools. We then examine the link between students’ perceptions of their due process rights, their past experiences with school discipline, and their perceptions of school disciplinary fairness. While quantitative results reveal a negative relationship between students’ perceptions of their rights and perceptions of disciplinary fairness, our qualitative data bolster this finding and deepen our understanding of students’ perceptions, illustrating students’ complex, varied, and often vague understandings of their due process rights when faced with disciplinary sanctions. As prior work has underscored the critical relationship between students’ perceptions of their schooling experiences and educational outcomes, uncovering this negative relationship is an important step toward understanding how variation in perceptions of rights may have consequences for students’ educational outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)234-255
    Number of pages22
    JournalSocial Currents
    Volume3
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2016

    Keywords

    • Discipline
    • Education
    • Fairness
    • School law
    • Student rights

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)

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