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  • Writer's pictureNBWJI Staff

NBWJI Report Offers Solutions To Counter The Criminalization Of Black Girls

Today, The National Black Women’s Justice Institute released federal, state and local recommendations to help schools and districts create non-punitive, nondiscriminatory, and safer learning environments for Black girls, and girls of color.

“End School PushOut for Black Girls and Other Girls of Color: Federal, State, and Local Policy Recommendations,” amplifies resources, policies, and practices to create supportive learning environments, where all students have the opportunity to succeed and where Black girls have access to a robust array of targeted services and supports able to propel them to a lifetime of success.

Read the policy recommendations here.

“Like other students, Black girls and other girls of color have a right to learn in safe and nurturing environments where they can thrive and reach their full potential,” says Dr. Sydney McKinney, Executive Director, NBWJI. “These recommendations are important and necessary steps for enacting legislative and policy changes at all levels of government that advance the educational opportunities and outcomes, as well as the safety and well-being, of Black girls and other girls of color.”

“These recommendations equip policy leaders to advocate for the resources, laws, policies, and practices necessary to create supportive educational settings for all students, specifically Black girls and other girls of color,” says Aishatu Yusuf, Senior Policy Fellow on Education and Reentry, NBWJI. “By instituting these recommendations, we can decrease the subjective punishment and discipline that leads to the criminalization of Black girls in schools.

Key federal, state and local policy recommendations from the report, include:

  • Support congressional legislation designed to change the outcomes, and increase the possibility for Black girls and other girls of color to thrive in schools;

  • Support legislation and policies that require school districts and post-secondary institutions to provide support to pregnant and parenting students;

  • Eliminate the use of suspension and expulsion for pre-K and grades K-2;

  • Eliminate Zero Tolerance Policies;

  • Review and develop codes of conduct, dress codes and other related school mandates to include equity policies with a robust articulation of gender and sex equity and student-focused responses to sexual harassment and assault; and

  • Mandate schools to include students in the development of codes of conduct, as well as the policies, practices and cultural expectations of the school

The release of these policy recommendations coincide with the international premiere of the documentary, PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, by NBWJI co-founder and president, Dr. Monique W. Morris. The full-length documentary, which will be screened at the 48th Annual Legislative Conference for the Congressional Black Caucus, centers the voices of Black girls about their own harsh and harmful experiences in schools, its long-term effects and opportunities for healing.


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