Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue

The New York Times

Sakinah White, a single mother of three who is an elementary schoolteacher in nearby Clayton County, said her 17-year-old daughter had been treated unfairly after she was expelled from her high school over an incident in which she was accused of hitting a white male student with a book. Criminal charges were also filed in the juvenile court system, Ms. White said.

“It’s a form of child abuse,” she said.

After a semester-long expulsion, her daughter became suicidal, Ms. White said, and began cutting herself with soda can tops. Ultimately, the criminal charges were dropped, Ms. White said, and the state board of education reversed the expulsion.

Ms. White and Ms. Roberts said their girls were enrolled in extracurricular activities like cheerleading and doing well academically. The women said they thought their daughter and granddaughter had been presumed guilty before the disciplinary hearings at their schools began. “All of this is subjective because it’s me and my daughter’s word against his word,” Ms. White said, referring to the school principal.

Another thing the girls have in common is dark skin color which researchers at Villanova University say affects the likelihood of being suspended. An analysis by Villanova researchers of data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health indicated that black girls with the darkest skin tones were three times more likely to be suspended than black girls with the lightest skin...


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