Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

The Criminalization of Black Women Starts Early

A report finds that Black girls are almost as likely to be arrested inside and outside the classroom as Black boys.

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About 130 children a year are arrested in schools, found an analysis by USA TODAY. Out of the three children they profiled, one of them was Kaia Rolle who was arrested at six years old. Though USA TODAY reported Black boys were more likely to be arrested than Black girls, there is a discussion to be had about the intersectional conflicts Black girls are exposed to before they finish elementary school.

A survey by Education Week showed more teachers were in favor of police officers in schools, yet this aids the statistic that Black children are arrested at higher rates than their counterparts, according to USA TODAY. It was also reported that data from the National Center for Education Statistics found about 50,000 officers are employed at schools around the country.

Additionally, USA TODAY shared a report from the American Civil Liberties Union that arrests at schools with police occurred at 3.5 times higher rate than schools without officers.

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From USA TODAY:

At the same time, millions of students attend schools without counselors, nurses, social workers or psychologists.

But Revels has had extensive training on working with children, while many school resource officers do not. Thirty-eight states and territories either require school officers to have specialized training, encourage it or have policies not compelled by law, according to 2019 numbers compiled by the National Association of State Boards of Education. The remaining states don’t address it.

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Kaia Rolle was arrested in 2019 after throwing a temper tantrum triggered by her sleep apnea in the classroom, reported Insider. She was zip-tied by a police officer and escorted out of the school. Her story isn’t the first of a young Black girl being arrested or handled with excessive force by police.

Last year, a 10-year-old Black girl in Hawaii had the police called on her for a drawing she made. Officers handcuffed and arrested her but not the other children involved, per NewsOne. In 2015, an officer at a South Carolina high school had dragged a Black girl out of her desk and slammed over onto the floor when she resisted arrest, per NBC News.

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The U.S. Department of Investigation released a study in June 2021, detailing that Black students accounted for 29% of students referred to the police and 32% of school arrests. Additionally, a Georgetown Law study found the “adultification” of Black girls combines the stereotypes of Black women and criminalization of Black people in a way that erases their innocence.

From Georgetown Law:

Simply put, if authorities in public systems view Black girls as less innocent, less needing of protection, and generally more like adults, it appears likely that they would also view Black girls as more culpable for their actions and, on that basis, punish them more harshly despite their status as children. Thus, adultification may serve as a contributing cause of the disproportionality in school discipline outcomes, harsher treatment by law enforcement, and the differentiated exercise of discretion by officials across the spectrum of the juvenile justice system.

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Outside of the classroom, Black girls are still subject to the same treatment. Last year, 9-year-old Black girl was pepper-sprayed by an officer in Rochester, NY while handcuffed in the backseat of the police vehicle, via NBC. In the same year, 17-year-old Maliyah Clary was yanked out of her car by her hair by a police officer during a traffic stop, reported Fox2 Detroit.

The policing and controlling of Black women begins at such a young age. When will our Black girls just be able to be Black girls?