Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Deidre Hill Butler




school-to-prison pipeline, zero tolerance, mass incarceration, education, discipline, schenectady school district, niskayuna school district


This thesis builds on previous literature about the implications of zero tolerance policies, policing in schools, and the school-to-prison pipeline. I evaluate the evolution of disciplinary policies within public school districts since the abandoning of zero tolerance. Specifically, I use the Schenectady and Niskayuna districts and apply theories about discipline, class, race, and achievement to evaluate and compare the ways in which the school-to-prison pipeline and disciplinary policies function. Through a series of case studies, I found that both schools, like many others, have taken significant steps towards moving away from criminalizing and punitive disciplinary measures. However, because of the inherent challenges urban districts like Schenectady face, their struggle with the school-to-prison pipeline is more advanced, and, therefore, their changes to their codes of conduct are more complex. My research attempts to fill a gap due to lack of research conducted on these relatively new disciplinary practices and alternative approaches towards handling behavioral issues. Overall, alternatives and practices like restorative justice, transformative justice, and implicit bias and trauma-sensitive training seem to be most effective. I make more detailed suggestions as to which methods seem to work best, and how they are carried out based on my evaluations of each district and the limited findings of other scholars thus far.