Black Girls Matter

This report has been sitting on my desktop since it was released earlier this year to keep it top-of mind. We all were very excited to read it because we see this in our schools and now have the data and vocabulary to make this issue a part of the larger conversations we are having in our culture and smaller conversations in schools with teachers and administrators.

The report is titled Black Girls Matter:Pushed OutOverpoliced, and Underprotected from The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia and The African American Policy Forum. In it, the authors point to the disproportionate suspension rates for girls of color compared to white girls—a greater disproportion than among boys. Some of the reasons are obvious—race plays a major role—but gender is also a factor, as these young women are perceived as not fitting the dominant cultural gender norms.

Here is a brief excerpt from the report:

It is well-established in the research literature and by educational advocates that there is a link between the use of punitive disciplinary measures and subsequent patterns of criminal supervision and incarceration. Commonly understood as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” this framework highlights the ways that punitive school policies lead to low achievement, system involvement, and other negative outcomes. Efforts to reverse the consequences of this pipeline have typically foregrounded boys of color, especially Black boys, who are suspended or expelled more than any other group.

As the cases outlined above demonstrate, punitive disciplinary policies also negatively impact Black girls and other girls of color. Yet much of the existing research literature excludes girls from the analysis, leading many stakeholders to infer that girls of color are not also at risk.

Check it out and let us know what you think.