Erik James Girvan (University of Oregon School of Law) has posted The Law and Social Psychology of Racial Disparities in School Discipline on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In the 1980s and 1990s, policy makers who were concerned about gang activity and “super predator” youth adopted zero-tolerance policies and practices for students in the U.S. The resulting school-to-prison pipeline is a system of exclusionary discipline and law enforcement that increases student contact with the juvenile justice system and ultimately incarceration, especially for Black students. The chapter facilitates psycho-legal research on the entrance to the school-to-prison pipeline—racial disproportionality in school discipline—by providing the background information necessary to understand the basic contours of the problem, the focus and limits of the laws that prohibit it, and the research into the primary social-psychological causes of those disparities.
Following a basic description of the problem, the chapter introduces a conceptual framework connecting the types of discrimination prohibited by federal law to the primary social psychological factors that have been proposed as causes of racial disparities in school discipline:
(a) Racial differences in student behaviors resulting from poverty, stress, identification with certain social groups, and culture and
(b) teacher and administrator decisions biased by the interactions between explicit or implicit attitudes and beliefs and discipline policies and practices.
The chapter then reviews the results of major empirical research regarding the causes and identifies which tend to have support, which do not, and where more work is needed.