Report: Girls of Color Disciplined Much More Harshly in School Than White Girls

Generic image 
Generic image 

Similar to the Villanova University report released in December about how black girls with browner hues were disciplined much more harshly and much more frequently than fairer-skinned black girls, a new report released Wednesday by Columbia University’s Law School found that girls of color “face much harsher school discipline” than their white counterparts, a press release issued by the school explains.


The report, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” features data from the Department of Education about how black girls are six times more likely than white girls to be suspended from school.

Even more alarming, girls of colors are not participating in and being exposed to initiatives to keep them out of the school-to-prison pipeline—initiatives that are intended for African-American and Hispanic working-class communities.

The researchers used national data that tracks these types of school incidents, as well as information gleaned from personal interviews with female students in Boston and New York City.

The report’s lead author, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, of Columbia’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, says that the report shows how girls are also subjected to the kind of systemic racism that plagues young men of color. “As public concern mounts for the needs of men and boys of color through initiatives like the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper, we must challenge the assumption that the lives of girls and women—who are often left out of the national conversation—are not also at risk,” Crenshaw said.  

The report also issues recommendations for how to support young female students of color and how to instill equity in the way children are disciplined. The proposals include “revising policies that funnel girls into juvenile supervision facilities,” identifying signs of sexual victimization, and improving the collection of data about how often schools are disciplining children across all races and genders.

Read more about the report here.