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How school discipline affects civic engagement with Thomas Catlaw and Aaron Kupchik

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

Release date: October 16, 2023

A couple of weeks ago, the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) held its annual conference. At it, a study from 2015 received some new attention. That study is “Discipline and Participation: The Long-Term Effects of Suspension and School Security on the Political and Civic Engagement of Youth” from the journal Youth and Society. My guests to talk about the study and its importance, are the study’s authors: Thomas Catlaw and, long-time friend of Talking About Kids, Aaron Kupchik. More information about Tom and Aaron, including a link to their study, is below.

Biography of Thomas Catlaw

Thomas is a sound recordist, musician, and researcher living in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert on the ancestral lands of the O’Odham (known as the Pima), Piipaash (known as the Maricopa), and their ancestors. Until 2017, he was Associate Professor and Frank & June Sackton Chair in Public Administration in Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs, where he was a faculty member for 14 years.

The author of many influential articles and books, including Fabricating the People: Politics & Administration in the Biopolitical State (University of Alabama Press, 2007) and Theories of Public Organization (Thomson, 2014, with Robert B. Denhardt), his research focuses on questions of diversity, identity, knowledge production, and legitimation in contemporary democratic governance. Prior to entering academia, Thomas worked for the US Office of Management & Budget in Washington, DC, in the area of federal audit policy; and Dechert LLP in Philadelphia, where he was a legal assistant specializing in political asylum and deportation defense. In 2017, Thomas left academia to pursue his interests in music and sound. His current sound work is rooted in ongoing field recordings made along the 196-mile Verde River riparian corridor.

Thomas holds a Bachelors in Russian Studies from Trinity College (Conn.), and Masters and PhD in Public Administration from The George Washington University. He has studied music and jazz performance at Scottsdale Community College and has a Diploma from the Master Recording Program II at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. Links to his sound work and academic research can be found at

Biography of Aaron Kupchik

Aaron Kupchik is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. His research focuses on juvenile justice, the policing and punishment of youth in schools, and racial inequality among juveniles. He is author of The Real School Safety Problem: The Long-term Consequences of Harsh School Punishment, Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear, and Judging Juveniles: Prosecuting Adolescents in Adult and Juvenile Courts.


Discipline and Participation: The Long-Term Effects of Suspension and School Security on the Political and Civic Engagement of Youth




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