Differences in student misbehavior after completing in-school suspension between rural high school and suburban high school students

Martin Ervind Welch


This study investigated the differences that exist in rural and suburban high school student misbehavior after completing in-school suspension (ISS) in Alabama's Mobile County Public School System. The independent variables of rural or suburban, gender, and ethnicity were used to determine the differences of the various groups. The archival discipline data of students assigned to ISS during the 2008-2009 school year were analyzed. Out of the 821 students assigned to ISS, 146 (17.8%) were not referred to the office again during the school year. There was a statistically significant relationship between rural or suburban and office referral after attending ISS. Suburban students (21.8%) were less likely to be referred to the office again than rural students (13.9%). No statistical differences were discovered between gender and misbehavior. A statistically significant relationship was found between ethnicity and office referral. All of the Asian students were referred to the office after attending ISS while 37.5% of Hispanic students received no additional office referrals. Black and Caucasian students were referred to the office again at about the same rate of just over 80%. Teacher demographic information and perceptions were gathered via questionnaire administered during the fall semester of 2009. Out of the combined total of 208 teachers at the two schools, 104 of them responded to the questionnaire. They were mostly middle-aged, Caucasian, and female with a master's degree. Teachers indicated that they supported ISS but believed it needed to be improved. They were unsure how to improve the alternative discipline program. The instructors were also uncertain as to whether parents supported ISS and if the amount of counseling and academic support provided to students in the program needed to be increased. The educators disagreed that ISS students should only be assigned to students once a year and that the program deterred student misbehavior.