A Comparative, Relational Study of Social-Emotional Learning and School Discipline by Race

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Students of color in the United States have received school discipline with greater frequency and severity than White students. No known research exists which addresses the culturally responsive use of social-emotional learning universal screeners to address the discipline gap for students of color. The purpose of the quantitative, comparative, relational study was to identify any statistically significant differences in the frequency of school discipline and social-emotional learning universal screener scores of Black, Hispanic, and White students and which, if any, social-emotional learning scales were related to the frequency of school discipline for each of these groups in a large, urban school district in Colorado. The sample of 210 third-grade to fifth- grade students from six elementary schools was stratified into three equal-size groups by race. The Kruskal-Wallis H-tests with post hoc Mann-Whitney U-tests identified lesser frequency in out-of-school suspension (OSS) for Hispanic and Black students as compared to White students. Greater mean scale scores were identified in engagement for Black and Hispanic students as compared to White students. The Pearson Chi Square test detected a significant relationship between engagement and OSS and in-school suspension for both Hispanic and White students. Through the lenses of transformational leadership theory (Burns, 1978) and critical race theory (Bell, 1995), recommendations included the culturally responsive use of data and recognition of racism in the education system. Implications for leadership included facilitating educators’ culturally responsive use of data and professional growth in culturally responsive instruction.
Social-Emotional Learning