Introduction: Case Studies with a Comparative Sensibility

Frances Vavrus, Lesley Bartlett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


Given decades of research demonstrating racially inequitable school discipline and a more recent national reckoning with racial injustice, U.S. schools and districts are under increasing pressure to reform school discipline. Approaches ranging from restorative justice to social-emotional learning (SEL) offer alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline that have been shown to result in harsh and inequitable punishment for Black, Latinx, Native American, and disabled students and students at the intersections of these identities. In this chapter, the author presents findings of a CCS examining how staff members across three schools in a single Wisconsin school district interpreted and communicated their understandings of discipline reform. She shows how (1) the three schools responded to a similar landscape of policies and pressures to reform school discipline, each crafting a distinctly different behavioral framework; (2) the elementary schools advanced individualistic notions of discipline reform that placed responsibility on students to overcome negative emotions; and (3) the middle school explicitly named injustice and inequity as problems but nevertheless remained ensconced within criminalizing district policy. The chapter concludes with methodological implications regarding the importance of pilot research and site selection and proposes new directions for the role of policy artifacts in comparative case study research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDoing Comparative Case Studies
Subtitle of host publicationNew Designs and Directions
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781000602227
ISBN (Print)9781032106847
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 selection and editorial matter, Frances Vavrus and Lesley Bartlett; individual chapters, the contributors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction: Case Studies with a Comparative Sensibility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this