Current Research. How psychological processes and public policies affect educational outcomes in school discipline has been a central thread in the research questions I have investigated and continue to investigate. In current studies, I aim to produce a series of experimental, qualitative, and theoretical pieces. Experimental work in school discipline is nascent, but crucial to addressing discipline disparities. I aim to use critical theories to predict and test racial and social stratification in school discipline outcomes across multiple unique online experiments that investigate the use of corporal punishment, restraint, seclusion, suspension, and special education designations in American schools. My theoretical pieces will posit a crisis of theory in school discipline scholarship and promote Critical Race Theory, Racial Threat Theory, TribQuit, Trans* Studies, Queer Criminology, DisCrit, and my own theories as viable theories for advancing school discipline explanatia and progress. My qualitative work explores the impact of unethical discipline tactics on the American public such as answering critical questions like how does corporal punishment impact vulnerable youth. Additionally, I interview principals and superintendents to better understand how school personnel in positions of power discipline and understand vulnerable youth mainly Black American, American Indian, disabled, and gender expansive students. I have begun focusing on discipline disparities and how they differ by various states including Mississippi and Oklahoma. Theoretically, I am in the process of developing several theories that explore the deleterious consequences of holding intersecting identities particularly as it relates to school discipline disparities. By posing critical questions about and creating new theories that explain how restraint, seclusion, corporal punishment, in school removal, and suspension impact American Indian, Black American, disabled, gender expansive, cis gender girls and boys, and two spirits children, I aim to advance social justice and test America’s public-school-promise-of-equal-opportunity against its disparate treatment of oppressed school children. Moreover, I aim to inform policy and the public by disseminating my research in open access, peer reviewed journals and the to American public more generally through newspapers, blogs, and podcasts.

Dissertation Research. My dissertation research contributes to the theoretical development of Critical Race Theory and further advances its potential as a causal model for education policy and bias analyses. Critical Race Theory is crucial to animating the promise of social science to protect and preserve all children’s humanity—not just some of them. My critical quantitative research tests the extent to which Critical Race Theory can explain how material and ideological forces of white supremacy (in school criminalization) disparately impact oppressed schoolchildren. As a Critical Race Theorist, I research disparities in public education by assessing the effectiveness of policies and programs on vulnerable youth. My multimethod dissertation studies alternately employ secondary analysis of large-scale state and national longitudinal datasets as well as designing and analyzing original experimental data.

As the start of an early career line of research on racial and social stratification in public schools in America, my Critical Quantitative dissertation prioritizes the historical and contemporary experiences of public school students in California who are Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, cis gender, and gender expansive. In this process, I leverage my lived experience as an Afro-Latina mother of three brown boys and a former poor and policed public school student from Los Angeles to critically contextualize the quantitative data I’ve sourced on these schoolchildren against the reality of my own schoolchildhood.

I do not believe in single-issue oppression. Instead, as a Critical Theorist and Critical Quantitative methodologist, my lived experience directs my research pursuits. Currently, the research projects I lead focus on neurologically and neurodevelopmentally atypical, Indigenous, and two-spirits children. With Critical Theories and Critical Quantitative methodology, I can and will test America’s public-school-promise-of-equal-opportunity against its disparate treatment of oppressed school children.

Doctoral Research Opportunities.  I have had the privilege of working under the supervision and guidance of my dissertation directors: Drs. Lara Perez-Felkner and James Wright. My research collaborations with them explore how financial support can improve the academic success of college students experiencing food and housing insecurity as well as how bureaucratic representation can improve police and civilian interactions. These studies alternately employ secondary analysis of large-scale state and national longitudinal datasets and content analysis of internal institutional student data, original experimental data, observational survey data, and interview methodology.