Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Winslade, John


The harmful effects of exclusionary disciplinary practices, including its disproportionate impact on Black students, have led to calls for school discipline reform at both the national and state levels. Many have called for the dissolution of zero-tolerance policies and the adoption of alternative methods that can ameliorate their harmful impact. Two reform efforts that have been proffered to address this issue center on school climate and restorative justice (RJ). This study focused on narrow aspects of both: Authoritative School Climate (ASC) and restorative justice readiness (RJR). RJR is defined as the measure of beliefs aligned with foundational RJ principles and values concerning harm, needs, obligations, and engagement. Such alignment can potentially lead to increased buy-in and willingness to implement RJ practices.

While a large portion of the RJ literature focuses on implementation of RJ practices, researchers have indicated the challenge of successfully implementing and sustaining RJ in schools where there is a lack of buy-in or staff alignment with the principles and values of RJ. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between Authoritative School Climate, as measured by Disciplinary Structure and Student Support, and the construct Restorative Justice Readiness. A secondary purpose of the study was to develop a reliable instrument that could be used to measure both.

A quantitative methodology was chosen for this study. A survey comprised of tested and original items was administered to high school staff at twelve high schools in the Inland Valley of Southern California and yielded a sample of 126. Multiple analyses were conducted. Findings revealed statistically significant relationships between items in each subscale; a five-factor solution, statistically significant relationships between Restorative Justice Readiness and both Disciplinary Structure and Student Support; and finally, that Disciplinary Structure and Student Support were predictors of Restorative Justice Readiness.

To turn the tide and create more equitable schools, leaders must work to reform current discipline policies and practices. RJ and school climate are two ways to do so. It is important to ensure staff values and beliefs align with these reform efforts before implementation to increase the likelihood of implementation fidelity and sustainability.

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