December 6, 2019 - Berkeley - Yesterday, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) introduced The Ending Punitive, Unfair, School-Based Harm that is Overt and Unresponsive to Trauma (PUSHOUT) Act, a bold new piece of legislation to disrupt the school-to-confinement pathway by investing in safe and nurturing school environments for all students, especially Black and brown girls.
The National Black Women’s Justice Institute’s research showing Black girls disproportionately experience exclusionary school discipline such as suspension and expulsion is cited in the legislation. Their analysis of the most recent U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights data found that Black girls are seven times more likely to be suspended from school and are four times more likely to be arrested on a school campus than their White peers.
“I am encouraged that our research and data are informing actions and solutions aimed at advancing Black girls, and other girls of color’s educational opportunities and outcomes, as well as their safety and wellbeing,” says Senior Policy Fellow on Education and Reentry, Aishatu Yusuf, MPA and author of the report, End School Pushout for Black Girls and Other Girls of Color: Federal, State, and Local Policy Recommendations. “Schools must end the criminalization of Black girls and become non-punitive, nondiscriminatory, and safe learning environments for all students. Our policy recommendations offer strategies for how to engage in this work at all levels of government, including local school districts.”
NBWJI is a leading expert in the field of education justice for youth of color, particularly Black girls and other girls of color.
“Our research has placed a spotlight on the disparate and excessive punishment that Black girls experience in school,” says Dr. Sydney McKinney, NBWJ’s Acting Director. “Although numerous studies show that education has a protective effect on child and adolescent wellbeing -- youth who are connected to school are less likely to engage in substance use and delinquency and report better mental health outcomes -- our research shows that schools are not safe and protective environments for Black girls.”
The PUSHOUT Act is a groundbreaking first step and sets the stage for future policy intended to transform schools into supportive spaces where Black girls and other girls of color can thrive. For more of NBWJI’s research and policy recommendations that foster nurturing educational settings for Black girls and other girls of color, visit nbwji.org.
The National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) is a leading research, training, and technical assistance provider to public agencies, institutions, and foundations on countering the criminalization of Black women and girls. NBWJI works to reduce racial and gender disparities across the justice continuum affecting Black women, girls, and their families, by conducting research, providing technical assistance, engaging in public education, promoting civic engagement and advocating for informed and effective policies. We conduct research, evaluation, and technical assistance from an intersectional lens that centers race/ethnicity and gender as well as gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation/identity for participants, staff, and partner organizations/individuals.