Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Instruction and Curriculum: Secondary Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Sherie Klee

Academic Year



The practice of punitive discipline is the most common response to misbehavior in American school systems, despite having no evidence to support its continued use. However, there is research that demonstrates its active harm to students in multiple capacities. Punitive discipline has been found to only exacerbate students’ behavior issues, as well as negatively impact their academic performance. Additionally, research has pointed out that punitive discipline impacts students of minority demographics at a significantly higher rate than students belonging to majority demographics. More research in the way of alternative restorative policies, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), is desperately needed so that districts can see an effective substitute. Punitive discipline does not correct behavior, improve grades, or provide any benefit to students. Therefore, punitive discipline should be abandoned in favor of restorative policies that are proven to help students get back on track.