Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pamela Scott

Committee Members

William Flora, Virginia Foley


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the perceptions of the use of alternatives to suspension of high school administrators in Virginia urban public schools. The phenomenological research design allowed better understanding of the participant’s view and perception of their use of alternatives to suspension. While there is research focusing on the use of alternatives to suspension, there has been little research in Virginia urban public schools on the perceptions of administrators on the use of alternatives to suspension. The framework this research study utilized to focus the data analysis was Social Learning Theory.

Data collection strategies included individual, semi-structured interviews, and document review. Analysis of data occurred in three phases: (a) open and axial coding themes from participant responses during interviews, (b) analysis of field notes, and (c) re-examination of the data. The analysis of the phenomenological study was based on the theoretical proposition that the perception of the person assigning the consequence after an incident influences the impact, change, and outcome. The credibility of the analysis was protected by triangulation of data through the coding of interviews and member checking.

The results revealed four categories emerged to include: (1) knowledge and awareness of alternatives to suspension, (2) perceived effectiveness and impact, (3) implementation challenges and barriers, and (4) policy and legal considerations. Based on the research, recommendations were made for professional practice to support and improve the responses to student behavior by administrators in urban Virginia public schools.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.