Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Celeste Hawkins and Dr. Sarah Van Zoeren

Second Advisor

Dr. Angie Mann-Williams

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynn Nybell


This thesis will explore connections made between the school-to-prison pipeline and bullying. Specifically, findings from a qualitative study conducted in 2016 will be presented and used to inform a review of the literature on bullying to explore connections between the two. The topic of bullying emerged as a prevalent theme among students who participated in the qualitative study by Hence (2017) titled, "Can You Hear Us Now? Engaging young African American Voices in Urban Communities and Schools". This study explored zero tolerance policies, school discipline practices, and its impact on the educational experiences of African American students. The study also examined factors that contribute to African American students entering the school to prison pipeline, as well as the role suspensions and expulsions play in increasing the likelihood of students entering the juvenile justice system. The findings on bullying led the researcher to explore research in this area to find a connection to the school-to-prison pipeline within K-12 schools, including the impact and role student-teacher relationships play in supporting students in schools. A review of the literature revealed a gap in the research, therefore this thesis uncovers a new area of inquiry as it relates to the connection between bullying and the school-to-prison pipeline. The qualitative study will be reviewed to provide context and to highlight the theme of bullying. An exploration of intervention models, recommendations, and strategies used to combat bullying in K-12 schools will also be presented.

Included in

Social Work Commons