Black Girls Suspended at Higher Rate Than Black Boys Compared to Their White Counterparts
Data from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that Black girls are actually suspended at a higher rate compared to their white counterparts than are Black males. While Black boys in the 2011-12 school year were suspended more than three times as often as white boys, Black girls were suspended six times as often as white girls. Researcher Kimberle Williams Crenshaw of UCLA said Black girls reported that school officials were quick to seek punitive solutions to problems, rather than digging deeper and finding restorative responses that would keep them engaged in school. Researchers Jamilia Blake and Bettie Ray Butler have unearthed the phenomenon of Black girls being subjected to harsher disciplinary interventions because they are perceived to be unruly, loud and unmanageable — teachers sometimes exercised disciplinary measures against Black girls to encourage them to adopt more “acceptable” qualities of femininity, such as being quieter and more passive.
Suspensions Lead to Dropouts and Juvenile Justice System
Girls who are suspended face a significantly greater likelihood of dropping out of school and are more likely to have contact with the juvenile justice system. The long-term consequences of dropping out are particularly troubling for Black as well as Latina girls, including a greater prevalence of low-wage work and unemployment, according to researchers Sean Nicholson-Crotty, Zachary Birchmeier and David Valentine, who found that Black youths are referred into the juvenile justice system at higher rates, in part, because they are more likely to spend their days on the streets due to suspension and are, therefore, more likely to come into contact with police relative to their white counterparts.