National Institute on Aging

Black Girls Face Harsher School Discipline

Recent research has documented that across the United States, girls of color are disproportionately likely to be suspended from school at every grade level. Beginning as early as preschool, Black girls account for 54 percent of all girls suspended despite being only 20 percent of the girls enrolled. From Kindergarten to 12th grade, Black girls are seven times more likely to be suspended from school as White girls, and four times more likely to be arrested at school.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who represents Boston in the U.S. House of Representatives, has introduced the Ending Punitive, Unfair, School-based Harm that is Overt and Unresponsive to Trauma (Ending PUSHOUT) legislation in Congress.

The Ending PUSHOUT Act:

  1. Establishes $2.5 billion in new federal grants to support states and districts that commit to ban unfair and discriminatory school discipline practices and improve school climates.
  2. Protects the Civil Rights Data Collection and strengthens the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights by investing $2.5 billion for additional enforcement and monitoring capacity.
  3. Establishes a Federal Interagency Taskforce to End the School Pushout crisis and its impact on girls of color.

Representative Pressley stated that “The Ending PUSHOUT Act aims to dismantle the school-to-confinement pathway by establishing trauma-informed policies in schools and creating an ecosystem within our schools where all girls can heal and thrive. As the Trump Administration actively works to roll back protections for our most vulnerable students, we must work in partnership with the community to develop holistic solutions that center the lived experiences of girls of color who have been most impacted by cruel and discriminatory school policies and practices.”

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