Student Discipline Disparities in Virginia

District Spending and Racial Disparities in Discipline


  • Katheryn Lanman Nisha Sensharma
  • Dr. Nisha Sensharma Mentor, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA, USA
  • Chris Mauthe Wakefield High School



racial disparities, student discipline, diversity inclusion, district wealth, school district spending


Large racial disparities in student discipline are thought to be directly contributing to disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system. Little has been done to learn about what acts as a predictor of and gives rise to these disparities. The current research aims to add to this conversation by examining the relationship between racial disparities in reported student offenders, measured using risk ratio, and two budget variables: the proportion of budget going towards diversity inclusion and per-pupil expenditures. Specifically, the research asks: How does spending on specific diversity programs and overall spending on students affect racial disparities in student discipline? A meta-analysis was utilized to answer this question. Data on Black, Hispanic, and White male students with no disabilities were collected from 314 public high schools across 126 school districts in Virginia. To find the correlation between racial disparities in reported student offenders and specific diversity programs as well as overall spending on students, a Pearson’s r test for correlation was conducted. Disparities in student discipline were positively correlated with the proportion of budget going toward diversity inclusion, but this correlation was not statistically significant. On the other hand, disparities in student discipline had a statistically significant positive correlation with per-pupil expenditures. This positive correlation indicates that the wealth of a district acts as a predictor of levels of racial disparity in student discipline. This suggests that the demographics of a district or segregation within a district could contribute to or exacerbate the existence of such disparities.


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How to Cite

Lanman, K., Sensharma, N. ., & Mauthe, C. . (2021). Student Discipline Disparities in Virginia: District Spending and Racial Disparities in Discipline. Journal of Student Research, 10(2).



AP Capstone™ Research