While black girls represent only 16% of the female student population in the United States, they also represent more than a third of those actually arrested in schools. Monique W. Morris’ latest book, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, documents the higher prevalence of zero-tolerance and exclusionary punishment to racial bias in our schools. From the distorted stereotypes about black femininity to the higher disciplinary occurrences for even minor infractions, black girls are granted “permission to fail”.
One of the most overt situations black girls are facing is the ban on their natural hairstyles. Morris tells The Cut, “The justification is rooted, I think, in deeply internalized impressions about what is professional, and what is a ‘good’ hairstyle,” sje says. “Recently, there was a group of girls in North Carolina who were threatened with suspension for wearing head wraps for Black History Month. Dress codes have to be reevaluated, and I think at a bare minimum it’s appropriate to remove all language that unfairly targets and disproportionately impacts a particular group of students, especially when it’s associated with expressions of cultural identity.”
What do you think about the way our children are treated in schools?