Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Farmer, Angela S.

Committee Member

Armstrong, Christopher Clayton

Committee Member

Hailey, Leigh Ann

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle and Secondary School Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


Disciplinary practices and protocols in schools have been a notable concern over the past 30 years. The traditional punitive punishment-based tactics have not proven to be effective in changing student behavior. Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) is a proactive alternative that puts whole school systems in a place wherein students and teachers share in the responsibility of building a culture and climate of behaviors that produce positive outcomes. Research based on the implementation of PBIS in schools has concluded that problem behaviors decrease, students and staff feel safe, and attendance improves. There is a body of research that concludes that implementing such changes is effective in reducing office discipline referrals in major disciplinary actions and in creating a positive school climate. The current study examined the effectiveness of changing from reactive, punitive, zero-tolerance practices to proactive positive behavioral interventions. The research focused on the effects of PBIS on the percentage and number of office discipline referrals (ODRs) for African-American and special education students after the first year’s implementation of PBIS in a school district of approximately 6,000 students. The results indicate that ODRs decreased during the implementation of PBIS.



Positive Behavioral Interventions