EAST LANSING, Mich. — Black girls are disproportionately punished in American schools – an “overlooked crisis” that is populating the school-to-prison pipeline at rising rates, two education scholars argue in a new paper.
Dorinda Carter Andrews, associate professor at Michigan State University, and Dorothy Hines-Datiri, assistant professor at the University of Kansas and former doctoral student at MSU, cite various examples of black girls in elementary school being handcuffed and taken away in police cars for classroom disruptions such as temper tantrums.
These zero tolerance policies unfairly target students of color and should be abolished, Carter Andrews said. But while a wealth of research and public discussion has focused on black male students, little attention has been paid to the mistreatment of black girls in U.S. classrooms, she said.
“Zero tolerance constructs these young girls as criminals,” Carter Andrews said. “It’s a criminalization of their childhood, and it’s a very prison-type mentality for schools to take.”
The paper, which appears online in the journal Urban Education, notes that zero tolerance is defined as a form of school discipline that imposes removal from school for an array of violations, from violence to truancy to dress code violations. Black students are two to three times more likely to be suspended than white students and are overrepresented in office referrals, expulsions and corporal punishment, the paper says.
Black female students in the United States receive out-of-school suspensions at higher rates (12 percent) than female students across all other racial and ethnic categories, according to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Only black boys (20 percent) and American Indian/Alaska native boys (13 percent) have higher suspension rates than black girls.
Black girls are also more likely to receive harsher discipline than their white peers for minor offenses, such as talking back to the teacher, Carter Andrews said.
“The research shows that teachers and other adults may give a pass to certain students for the ways in which they talk back,” she said. “Teachers may view some girls, particularly African-American girls, as attitudinal or aggressive, even though they may be using the same talk-back language as a white female student.”
In addition to the abolishment of zero tolerance policies, the researchers call for the establishment of culturally responsive professional-development training for educators that would raise their awareness of the experiences of girls of color.
“We cannot afford to have more black girls’ identities snuffed out by disciplinary policies and ultimately the educational and criminal justice systems,” the study says.
Connect With SWHELPER
Good Mental Health Equals a Happy Marriage
Happily married couples enjoy better mental health status, according to researchers. They fall sick less often, have fewer instances of...
The Woman Beside Me – Living in the Era of Trump
At the gym, MSNBC plays on my treadmill monitor. Coverage of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton have been...
The History of Stereotyping Homelessness in Australia
The history of homelessness in Australia stems back to our nation’s colonization by our British counterparts which moved Indigenous Australians...
Examining White Privilege: What’s the Fear?
Dickinson student Leda Fisher asks the question “Should White Boys Still be Allowed to Talk?” in her opinion piece in...
Mental Health3 months ago
National Academies Study Recognizes Social Workers as Specialists in Social Care
Health3 months ago
Can Women with PCOS Be Pregnant?
Human Services3 months ago
Rising Ground to Expand the Role of Foster Parents in Supporting Both the Child and Family to Speed Up Reconciliation
Mental Health3 months ago
Understanding and Resolving The Cycle Of Abuse