The Roles of Suspensions for Minor Infractions and School Climate in Predicting Academic Performance Among Adolescents

Juan Del Toro, Ming Te Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

African American adolescents are grossly overrepresented in rates of school suspensions for minor disciplinary infractions; however, the consequences associated with this disciplinary practice are unknown. African American adolescents who were suspended for minor infractions may perceive school rules and adults as unfair and illegitimate, and these poor perceptions toward school may compromise their social and interpersonal resources necessary for academic success. The present study investigates: (a) whether suspensions for minor infractions predict lower school grades longitudinally, and (b) whether poor school climate perceptions mediate the longitudinal link between suspensions for minor infractions and school grades. Based on 3 years of school records and social survey data from 2,381 adolescents (35% African American, 65% White), results illustrated that more African American adolescents were suspended for minor infractions than their White peers who committed similar infractions. In addition, African American adolescents suspended for minor infractions also had lower grades 1 and 2 years later. The longitudinal relation between suspensions for minor infractions and subsequent grades was partially mediated by African American adolescents’ school climate perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-185
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 7 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Academic performance
  • School climate
  • School discipline
  • School suspension

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