There is much discussion in the United States about how in-school and out of school suspension negatively impacts students who are subjected to this form of exclusionary discipline. There is concern about whether there are disparities in school suspension rates between students from different subgroups and their peers. Research in this area has shown that racial/ethnic minority students, as well as students with the factors of having a low socio-economic status and being male, make some schools more likely to use school discipline than others. A question to be answered in the area of school discipline is related to if English Language Learner Status is a factor that contributes to exclusionary school discipline. This study examines whether disproportionalities exist within school suspension for English Language Learners (ELL students) as compared to non-ELL students. Findings show that ELL status does have an effect on the risk of a student being suspended from school. The risk of suspension for a student with ELL status is 20% higher than a non-ELL student. ELL Students show more disadvantages in other demographics such as low socioeconomic status. ELL students have two times the risk of living in poverty when compared to non-ELL students. Analysis of the relationship between poverty status and suspension show that students who are living in poverty have a risk of suspension that is 2.4 times the risk of suspension for students not living in poverty. A primary goal for this study was to lay groundwork for future studies exploring the relationship between suspension and ELL status. Currently, few studies correlate English learner students to the exclusionary discipline they receive. This study is important and timely because it describes discipline rates and puts forth reasons as to why ELL students are subjected to school suspension.


Vicki Hunter & Tyler Vaughan

Committee Member

Carol Glasser

Committee Member

Timothy Berry

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Rights Statement

In Copyright