Examining School Discipline Under Restorative Justice
Miles Davison

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Irvine

Primary Discipline

Research underscores the pivotal role school discipline plays in shaping students' educational attainment. As awareness about racial disproportionality in exposure to punitive disciplinary environments has increased, schools have begun to adopt restorative justice (RJ) programs that aim to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Rather than removing a student from the school environment during a conflict, RJ programs seek to minimize punitive disciplinary approaches like suspension and instead promote practices aimed at building relationships between students and teachers, mediating conflict, and improving school climates. Although schools are increasingly implementing RJ programs to address concerns around the short- and long-term consequences of punitive school discipline, there is need for research examining the effects of RJ programs and if certain aspects of RJ are particularly important for supporting youth in education. Drawing on a unique data infrastructure from three partner sites, this project investigates 1) how RJ affects students differentially by race, 2) how RJ effects may vary based on on-the-ground practices, and 3) if restorative justice effects are particularly pronounced for students involved in disciplinary incidents focusing specifically on student socioemotional outcomes. Through examining school-based restorative justice programs at three sites, this work will not only provide important insights into where and for whom restorative justice is effective, but also contribute to broader conversations on intervention programs, racial inequality and the school-to-prison pipeline.
About Miles Davison
Miles Davison is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Irvine and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. His research broadly examines racial disparities in school discipline outcomes and how these disparities shift under policy or programmatic reform efforts. Miles' research is driven by a desire to assist schools and communities in efforts to create systems of support for at-risk youth of color. Thus, the bulk of his training and work as a graduate student has focused on developing the skills and partnerships necessary to conduct research that prioritizes community impact. At UC-Irvine, Miles has received training from the Center for Administrative Data Analysis and has worked with university partners to produce research that informs local practice. Apart from his academic work, Miles has held numerous leadership positions where he has focused on mentoring first-generation college students of color and advocacy for underrepresented students. He has also served as the Student Representative for the Sociology of Education section of the American Sociological Association. Miles holds degrees in sociology from the University of California, Irvine (M.A.) and Texas Christian University (B.A).

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