Research reveals that school suspensions disproportionately impact black female students at a higher rate than their white counter parts.
Professor Andrea Joseph-McCatty of the University of Tennessee’s study focused on how the greater share of suspensions and expulsions were racial and gender biased according to The Conversation.
“Nationally [Black students] are the only group of girls disproportionately suspended in relation to their enrollment,” said Joseph-McCatty.
In 2017-2018, over 2.5 million children received one or more suspensions. The danger of acquiring an out-of-school suspension for Black girls was more than four times higher than that of white girls.
Social scientists used data to demonstrate how gender, race, disability, class bias and systematic inequities influence suspensions. Black girls are more likely to receive subjective infractions, such as their tone of voice and contention with other girls. They are also for wearing their beautiful natural afros, braids, or clothing depicting cultural pride, reported The Conversation.
Another major hindrance is the opinion some adults embrace about girls of color; that they need less emotional or developmental support, because they are “adultified,” a term describing how they are perceived as adults. This concept makes the Black girls appear less innocent, not needing nurturing, nor protection. The presumption is they know more about adult topics, such as sex.
Schools regularly overlook childhood trauma and institute punishment rather than catering to young girls’ needs. Some schools have used restorative justice practices and positive behavior interventions to address disproportional suspensions, according to Joseph-McCatty’s report. Proactive communities are teaming up with organizations such as Gwen’s Girls Incorporated and The F.I.N.D. Design to give people gender and culturally appropriate interventions.
Joseph-McCatty hinted that hiring more black teachers might foster an equitable environment but this is not the only resolution.
“My colleagues and I suggest that practitioners need trauma-informed professional development at the intersection of race and gender at minimum to begin to provide robust support for students of color experiencing adversity,” Joseph-McCatty said.