Report: Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue

Posted by New York Times on January 5, 2015

For all the attention on the problems black boys face with school discipline and criminal justice, focus is growing around these issues as they pertain to black girls, writes Tanzina Vega in The New York Times. Data from the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education show that from 2011 to 2012, black girls in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were suspended at a rate of 12 percent, more than girls of any other race or ethnicity, and compared with only two percent for white girls. An analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health also indicates that black girls with the darkest skin tones were three times more likely to be suspended than black girls with the lightest skin. Different gender expectations exist for black girls compared with white girls and within a cross-sections of black girls: “When a darker-skinned African-American female acts up, there’s a certain concern about her boyish aggressiveness, that she doesn’t know her place as a female, as a woman,” says Lance Hannon of Villanova University, who conducted the analysis. Compared with black boys, who are disciplined at higher rates than boys of other races and ethnicities, researchers find black girls are penalized more subjectively, such as for having a bad attitude or being defiant.

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