Just Discipline Project

Shawn Thomas, a Black man with shaved head and facial hair, wearing glasses and a white button down top, speaking in front of a group of mostly Black middle school students

Evidence has shown that exclusionary discipline practices in schools like suspensions have negative effects on students and schools alike. In particular, these practices contribute to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” a process whereby school-based infractions push youth to engagement with the criminal justice system. In response, the Just Discipline Project is a research-to-practice initiative designed to advance achievement for all students by implementing and evaluating school‐based relational climate and restorative practice programs.

The project supports teachers, students, and staff in efforts to enhance relational approaches that ultimately reduce the need for exclusionary discipline in schools. We expect that decreases in school suspensions and increases in strong relationships will in tandem yield safer schools, improved academic outcomes, and reduced contact with criminal justice systems for youth.

Restorative Justice and culture-building programming started at Woodland Hills Intermediate School in the spring of 2017 and has continued since that time. The Just Discipline Project currently serves over 5,000 students in twelve local schools. Evaluation of the work is ongoing.



 James Huguley, a smiling Black man with a shaved head and facial hair, wearing Black-framed glasses and a black suit with yellow tie.

Ming-Te Wang, a smiling Taiwanese man with short brown hair wearing a tan suit and blue button up shirt.

Jay Huguley  
Project Principle Investigator
Ming-Te Wang                       
Project Co-Principle Investigator
Shawn Thomas, a smiling Black man with shaved head and facial hair, wearing a plaid button down shirt. Michele Snyder, a smiling White woman with long straight brown hair wearing a black sweater and blue top.

Rachelle Haynik, a smiling White woman with shoulder-length blond hair wearing a red top.

Shawn Thomas
Program Director

Michele Leyshon Snyder
Director of Operations

Rachelle Haynik
Research Coordinator

Cameron Ashbaugh, a smiling White man with blond hair wearing a blue polo. Breela Dorsey, a smiling Black woman with straight red hair wearing a gray knit turtleneck. Jamaal Gosa, a smiling Black man with a shaved head and full beard wearing a black suit and floral tie

Cameron Ashbaugh
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Breela Dorsey
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Jamaal Gosa
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Rodney Gaskins-Acie, a smiling African American man wearing a black suit with plaid tie and hair in locs in a ponytail Jacqueline Myers, a Black woman with hair pulled back in long braids, wearing Black-framed glasses and a gray top Molly Means, a smiling woman with long straight brown hair wearing a yellow blazer and black top

Rodney Gaskins-Acie
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Jackie Myers
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Molly Means
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Cyndi Perlow, a smiling white woman with long brown hair wearing a graduation cap and gown Taylor Savala, a smiling Latina woman with medium Black hair wearing a gray top Spencer Scott, a smiling Black man with hair pulled back in braids and a full beard wearing a blue knit sweater.
Cyndi Perlow
Restorative Practice Coordinator
Tayor Savala
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Spencer Scott
Restorative Practice Coordinator

Jennie Smith, a smiling white woman with long brown hair wearing glasses and a floral blouse Ashley Thomas, a Black woman with straight black hair pulled into a topknot, wearing a blue top and gold hoop earrings.
Jennie Smith
Restorative Practice Coordinator
Ashley Thomas
Restorative Practice Coordinator
Bianca DeBellis
Doctoral Fellow & Professional Partnership 

Meet our Restorative Practice Coordinators

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Learn More


Reach out for more information: justdiscipline@pitt.edu
Follow us on Twitter @justdiscipline

Community Champions

The JDP Community Champions is a body of parents, educators, and invested community members who work on the Just Discipline scientific team through our partnership with The Pittsburgh Study at Children’s Hospital. The JDP Champions work with the Just Discipline programmers to tailor the work to the strengths, needs, and interests of the communities we serve.

Tameka McGee - Woodland Hills School District Teacher and Parent
Kristin Walker - Social Worker and Woodland Hills School District Parent
Dr. Keith Caldwell - Director of Impact and Continuity - Community Engagement Centers and Woodland Hills School District Parent
Sala Udin - Pittsburgh Public School Board President
Dawn Golden - Director of Pupil Personnel Services at Woodland Hills School District
Cheryl Kleiman - Legislative Director for Senator Lindsey M. Williams