How do adolescents in an urban setting understand their experience with out-of-school suspension? A phenomenological study of high school students in a Boston charter public school
McGuinness, Theresa Bridget
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This study explored participants’ experience of being suspended out of school by conducting in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 19 previously suspended students in a charter public school setting in Boston, MA. The study followed a transcendental phenomenological method (Moustakas, 1994) unshaped by theoretical predictions to examine the interviews, with added attention to the precipitating factors and relationships students described around the experience. Descriptive demographic data regarding student race, gender, grade-level, and number of suspensions was used to help contextualize the student suspension experience. Four core themes were constructed from the analysis of participant interviews: (1) A perceived connectedness to adults makes a meaningful difference in student relational strength, (2) Equity matters, (3) There are contextual consequences, and (4) Signs of self-awareness, reflection, and growth (Changes over time) were prevalent.