Title

Violence-related disciplinary infractions among African American males at the middle school level

Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Clyde Ginn

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to find relationships between four independent variables: adult male presence in the home, extracurricular activity involvement, special education classification, and number of years retained, and the dependent variables: violence-related offenses and total number of offenses committed by African American male students at the middle school level. The study included a quantitative study of student disciplinary data and a qualitative inquiry of 10 African American male students to gain insight into their perspectives on why Black boys fight. The quantitative part of the study was conducted in three middle schools in a small southern school district on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The sample (N = 335) of African American male students was enrolled at one of the three middle schools, grades 6-8, during the 2001-2002 school year. Three independent sample t tests and a regression analysis were conducted to determine if a relationship exists between and among the four predictors and the dependent variables: violence-related offenses and total number of offenses committed by African American male students at the middle school level. The statistical analyses revealed that adult male presence in the home, extracurricular activity involvement, and number of grades retained were significant predictors of violence-related offenses committed. The strongest relationship existed between the number of grades retained and the number of violence-related offenses. Secondly, adult male presence, special education classification, and number of grades retained were significant predictors of the total number of offenses committed. The strongest relationship existed between the number of grades retained and the total number of offenses committed. The next strongest relationship existed between special education classification and the total number of offenses committed. The qualitative study consisted of a 10-question inquiry with 9 African American male students to gain additional insight into why Black boys fight. Study participants offered different perspectives to the 10 questions designed to gain information about their home lives, school lives, and family lives. The salient information gained from the student participants was more closely related to peer acceptance than their involvement in any of the four quantitative measures.