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Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected

Resource type: Research Report

African American Policy Forum and Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies |

Black girls in the U.S. were suspended six times more than white girls, according to recent federal data. Girls of color also face specific factors that push them out of school, like sexual assault, criminalization and teacher stereotyping, yet girls are often excluded from current efforts to address the school-to-prison pipeline.

Through analyzing Department of Education discipline data for New York City and Boston Public Schools and presenting key issues and concerns identified by young women of color in focus groups, this report shines a spotlight on the unique challenges girls of color face in our nation’s schools.

“Black Girls Matter” recommends policies and interventions to address these challenges, including:

  • revising policies that funnel girls into juvenile supervision facilities;
  • developing programs that identify signs of sexual victimization and assist girls in addressing traumatic experiences;
  • advancing programs that support girls who are pregnant, parenting, or otherwise assuming significant familial responsibilities; and
  • improving data collection to better track discipline and achievement by race/ethnicity and gender for all groups.

Comparison of percentage enrollment vs. percentage of students disciplined, New York school district,
2011-2012 school year. Source: Black Girls Matter 

Learn More

> Read the report (PDF)

> Read the Executive Summary (PDF)

> Visit the African American Policy Forum website

Media Coverage

> “How Our Schools Are Holding Black Girls Back,” TIME, 9 February 2015

> “Black girls are suspended from school 6 times more often than white girls,” Vox, 9 February 2015

Related Resources


Children & Youth, School Discipline Reform

Global Impact:

United States