Skip to main content

Dr. Charles Bell

Assistant Professor
Criminal Justice Sciences
Schroeder Hall - SCH 440
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


Dr. Charles Bell is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences. His research explores how out-of-school suspension, seclusion, restraint, and school safety measures impact students, parents, and teachers. He also examines social factors that contribute to violent student-student and student-teacher altercations. Dr. Bell's work has been published in several scholarly and public engagement outlets such as Urban Education, Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Crime and Justice, The Conversation, Kappan, Sociology Compass, etc. The Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) selected his book Suspended: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021) as a finalist for the 2021 C. Wright Mills Book Award. Dr. Bell is also a recipient of the 2023-2024 CAST Outstanding Researcher Award (Pre-Tenure), the American Society of Criminology Division on People of Color and Crime Teaching Award, the 2021-2022 CAST Outstanding Teacher Award (Pre-Tenure), the 2019 Midwest Sociological Society Research Grant, and the ISU African American Studies Summer Research Initiative Award.

Dr. Bell is a subject matter expert on school discipline, violence, and safety projects with the National Center for School Safety (NCSS) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). He has also served as an expert witness in state and federal school punishment cases.

Dr. Bell has been interviewed and cited by several news outlets such as NBC News, NPR, Detroit News, WGLT, Atlanta Black Star, Lakeshore PBS, Detroit PBS, WCBU Peoria, WMBD Central Illinois, and Aljazeera America. His next book, under contract with New York University Press, focuses on how school seclusion and restraint impact families of children with disabilities.

Current Courses

499.005Independent Research For The Master's Thesis

400.005Independent Study

291.008Undergraduate Teaching Experience In Criminal Justice Sciences

200.001Contemporary Corrections

Ph D Sociology

Wayne State University

MA School Psychology

Michigan State University

BA Psychology

Wayne State University

Impact Award

Illinois State University - University College

CAST Outstanding Researcher Award - Pre-Tenure

College of Applied Sciences & Technology

Division on People of Color and Crime Teaching Award

American Society of Criminology

CAST Outstanding Teacher Award - Pre Tenure

College of Applied Science & Technology

Finalist - C. Wright Mills Book Award

The Society for the Study of Social Problems

Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship

American Society of Criminology

Book, Authored

Bell, C. Suspended: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety. Johns Hopkins University Press (2021)

Book, Chapter

Beichner, D., Craig, M.O. & Bell, C. (2021). Racialized mass incarceration in the U.S.A. as a form of macro victimization. In Varona, G. (Ed.) Macrovictimización, abuso de poder y victimología: Impactos intergeneracionales (pp. 327-363). Cizur Mayor, Spain: Aranzadi.
Bell, C. Special Yet Unequal: Race, Disability, and the Prison Pipeline for Black Youth in America. Racism By Another Name: Black Students, Overrepresentation, and the Carceral State of Special Education. Information Age Publishing (2021)

Journal Article

Bell, C. Resistance Pedagogy: Illuminating Marginalized Voices and Challenging Dominant Narratives. Protest (2023)
Bell, C., & Craig, M. Suspended, Restrained, and Secluded: Exploring the Relationship Between School Punishment, Disability, and Black and White Parents’ Health Outcomes. Children and Youth Service Review (2023)
Bell, C., Kinzel, A., & Akakpo, Y. Continuity of the “code”: A review of the subcultures and informal social norms in prisons, streets, and schools. Sociology Compass (2022)
Harm, A., & Bell, C. Teaching beyond the Textbook: Integrating Formerly Incarcerated Individuals into Criminal Justice Learning Environments. Journal of Criminal Justice Education (2021)
Bell, C., & Puckett, T. I Want To Learn But They Won’t Let Me: Exploring the Impact of School Discipline on Academic Achievement. Urban Education (2020)

Magazine/Trade Publication

Bell, C. Seeking safety in a ‘code’: Black students share how failing school safety measures lead to escalating violence and victimization. Kappan (2022)


Bell, C. Poverty to PhD: An Insider Account on Structural Barriers That Affect Impoverished Students of Color. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Newsletter 4 (2018): 26-28.
Bell, C. Race & Policing: A Legacy of Exclusion, Profiling, and Oppression. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Newsletter (2017): 71-75.

Newspaper, Article

Bell, C. 1 in 10 teachers say they’ve been attacked by students. The Conversation (2022)
Bell, C. Black parents say their children are being suspended for petty reasons that force them to take off from work and sometimes lose their jobs. The Conversation (2021)
Bell, C. Teachers must often face student attacks alone. The Conversation (2021)
Bell, C. School suspensions don’t just unfairly penalize Black students – they lead to lower grades and ‘Black flight’. The Conversation (2020)
Bell, C. School suspensions don’t stop violence – they help students celebrate it. The Conversation (2019)

Technical Report

Stipp, K.F., Bell, C. & Avant, D.W. (2021). Listening to Middle School and High School Youth: Executive Summary.


Continuity of the “Code”: Do the Inmate, Street, and School "Codes" Reinforce Each Other?. American Society of Criminology. (2022)
Suspended: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety. American Society of Criminology. (2022)
Does the Code of the School Encourage Educator Targeted Violence. Society for the Study of Social Problems. (2021)
Revisiting The Code of the School in Primarily White High Schools. Midwest Sociological Society Conference. (2021)
They Just Want to Learn!!!! – The collision of school discipline and academic achievement. Black Doctoral Network. (2020)
Exploring Black Students' and Parents' Perceptions of School Safety Measures. Society for the Study of Social Problems. (2019)
School Discipline Reform. School Discipline and Mass Incarceration Reform. Kalamazoo College. (2019)
The Code of the School: Discipline, Respect, and Survival in Primarily Black High Schools. Midwest Sociological Society. Illinois State University. (2019)
The Hidden Consequences of School Punishment: An Insider's Perspective. Culturally Responsive Campus Community. Illinois State University. (2019)
Beyond the Bars: Exploring the Lived Experiences of Incarcerated Individuals & Prison Reform Solutions. Facing Race Conference. Race Forward. (2018)

Grants & Contracts

University Research Grant. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2021)
Midwest Sociological Society Research Grant. Midwest Sociological Society. Other. (2019)
Student Sustainability Research Grant. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2019)
Summer Research Initiative Grant. African American Studies. Illinois State University. (2019)
Teaching Innovation Grant. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2019)