Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

William Parrett


This mixed-methods study examined expelled students in a Northwest public school district of 3,400 students. The purpose was to analyze perceptions of expelled students from 2003-2010 (N-68) regarding their expulsion process and experiences relating to the resumption of educational pursuits. Data was collected from a questionnaire designed by the researcher and distributed to 44 students and from transcribed and coded testimony from four students. The research centers on the whys and wherefores of student expulsions, asking questions that could help schools and school districts penetrate more deeply into the expulsion process, questions that focus on how students perceive their own expulsion and how, after expulsion, they do or do not resume their education. Results from findings using descriptive statistics and qualitative interviewing and coding procedures show five significant areas. Expelled students (1) express deep feeling of isolation after expulsion, (2) feel their expulsions were unfair, but support zero tolerance policies for weapons and drug abuses even though the majority reason for expulsion is drug offenses, (3) express a need for their district to help them, not exclude them, (4) resume educational pursuits at a ratio of 75% graduation at various schools to 25% who dropped out, and (5) parents, especially mothers, are the main influential mentors in the resumption of education.


Dr. Dahlgren has also authored the article, "Expulsion: A Decision That Could Change a Student's Future" in the February 2010 edition of Slate. This article is included in her dissertation as Appendix K and is only available in the print version through the Boise State University Albertsons Library collection.