Date of Award



© 2019 Antoinette McIntosh

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dorothy Williams

Second Advisor

Andrea Disque

Third Advisor

Gina Gullo


This study explored the past lived experiences of LGBTQ young adults of color (ages 23-28) who were affected by the DISD Student Code of Conduct while attending high school. This study sought to discover the experiences, behaviors, and expectations that LGBTQ youth of color had in relation to the DISD Code of Conduct. This study used a qualitative phenomenological method with data collected from purposeful sampling of six LGBTQ young adults of color who attended DISD high schools and were suspended and/or expelled due to the zero tolerance nature of the student code of conduct. Inductive reasoning was used as it is based on learning from experiences. In addition, patterns and similarities were observed in order to reach conclusions (Kakulu, Byrne, & Viitanen, 2009).

Questions for all participants focused on individual perceptions of student discipline, school engagement, academic achievement, mental health and well-being and the juvenile justice system. The study found that LGBTQ youth of color experienced low student engagement, involvement in recreational drug use, low academic achievement, and involvement in the juvenile justice system due to being suspended and/or expelled. The study provides information that will shed light on the importance of why high school administrators and teachers should make the appropriate investments into LGBTQ youth of color in order to cultivate a school environment of inclusiveness. Schools must establish clear comprehensive policies which add clauses that take into consideration the intent of the action and if the student acted in self-defense. The effects of suspensions and/expulsions require closer examination and inquiry in order to ensure that the educational opportunities of LGBTQ youth of color are protected.


Ed.D. Dissertation