The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore restorative justice policy implementation at one school in Dochas School District by examining the perspectives of school-site staff who are positioned as street level bureaucrats. The study will include document analysis and interviews. According to Creswell (2013), a case study is a qualitative approach in which the investigator a real-life contemporary who studies a bounded system over time through detailed data collection reporting a case description and emergent themes. The use of a case study is appropriate because it aims to clarify the boundaries between the phenomenon and the current contextual circumstances of the policy shift from zero tolerance to restorative justice. The research questions that will frame this study are:
1) What are the perspectives of street level bureaucrats of the implementation of restorative justice?
2) How do street level bureaucrats’ understandings of restorative justice compare to central administrations understandings of restorative justice as related through official district documents?
Qualitative research, according to Creswell, involves an inquiry process of understanding based on the methods of inquiry that explore a social or human problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting (1998, p. 15).
A case must represent specificity rather than generality, and it is by this distinction that a ‘?bounded case’ or system exists (Stake, 2008, p. 121). This case study employs qualitative methods where the focus is to explore a case, a bounded group of teachers, counselors, and security guards within a bounded system, a particular school within the Dochas School District.
Yin claims that the case study method is best applied when research addresses descriptive questions and aims to answer those questions using a first-hand understanding of people and events (2002). A qualitative case study design supports the investigation of street level bureaucrats’ perspectives using interviews and document analysis. This comprehensive design strategy is an empirical inquiry that explores a case by addressing the “”how”” and “”why”” questions regarding the phenomenon of interest (Yazan, 2005). This case study serves the purpose of exploring the “”how”” and “”why”” following a district mandated policy change and the experiences of street level bureaucrats regarding that change.
The study will take place at Meitheal Middle School within the Dochas School District. This district is one of the largest in Southern California. Meitheal Middle School is located in an urban area of the district. The participants will be site-level employees who are positioned as street level bureaucrats at Meitheal Middle School. The phenomenon being studied is the street level bureaucrats’ perspectives on the policy change from zero tolerance to restorative justice at their school site.
Data collection procedures within the Middle School in the Dochas School District in which this is one of the largest across the California State will be simply through sampling of the information regarding the issue of street level bureaucrats.
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