Date of Award

Fall 1-1-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Urban Education Degree: Policy Studies


Education And Human Services

First Advisor

Galletta, Anne M.

Second Advisor

Brian Harper, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Frederick M. Hampton, Ed.D.


In spite of extant research on the impact of zero-tolerance policies on racial disparity and negative academic outcomes, exclusionary discipline still abounds, which urges the need for alternatives to this policy. Current research suggests approaches like restorative justice and restorative practices as a promising alternative to zero-tolerance policies where, through its use, students can find acceptance for who they are and learn how to handle conflict, accept responsibility, repair relationships, exercise forgiveness, and belong to a community. The specific problem becomes identifying the factors that make implementation of restorative justice programs in the educational setting impactful. The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore use of the elements of the restorative practices continuum and the factors of restorative practices implementation, and to investigate relationships that might exist between implementation of restorative practices and forgiveness, and the impact of implementation on suspensions at the school level. Instruments administered were a Restorative Practices survey that consisted of a combination of items developed by RAND and items developed by the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) and the Heartland Forgiveness Scale. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was used to identify strongly related restorative practices survey items that grouped together as factors, particularly, factors of restorative practices v implementation. Multiple regression was used to investigate relationships between these factors and the forgiveness scale score, to determine if forgiveness was a predictor of implementation, and relationships between these factors at the school level and out-of school suspensions, to indicate the overall impact of restorative practices implementation. Results of the study indicated: 1) the elements of the restorative practices continuum that are more informal are implemented closer to “often” than those that require more time and preparation, which are implemented “sometimes.” There are differences in the use of elements by gender, race, grade band and position. 2) The factors that emerged as dimensions of restorative practices implementation were influence on culture, utility of restorative practices, endorsement of restorative practices, integration of restorative practices, and understanding of restorative practices. 3) Forgiveness was positively related to the following factors: influence on culture, utility of restorative practices, and integration of restorative practices. 4) Though not statistically significant, decline in suspensions was related to some factors of implementation. This study contributes to the literature and fills a gap not yet explored on the relationship between an educator’s aptitude for forgiveness and implementation of various components of restorative practices. Additionally, it extends research conducted by the RAND Corporation in the use of the restorative practices survey.