Black girls are more likely to be disciplined in school compared to white classmates in three US states, according to a new report.
The nonprofit Appleseed Network, made up of 16 justice centers across the US and Mexico, published “Protecting Girls of Color from the School-to-Prison Pipeline” on Sept. 2 in collaboration with the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
The report highlights the known phenomenon that girls of color, specifically Black girls, are disciplined at a higher rate than white peers for similar behavior.
Black girls are roughly 5.2 times more likely to be disciplined than their white peers in Alabama, Kansas, and Massachusetts, the report found. Broken down by state, the data showed Black girls were 6.2 times more likely to be disciplined than their white female peers in Kansas, 3.9 times more likely in Massachusetts, and 3.7 times more likely in Alabama.
The report analyzed data from the 2015-2016 school year and noted that state-level disciplinary data desegregated by race, gender, and ethnicity is not widely available. The report data did not include the cause for discipline but included forms such as in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and school-related arrests.
"The report exposes a dramatic imbalance in our school system and highlights the continued need for us to investigate and eradicate systemic racism at every level of our society,” Kansas Appleseed Campaign Director Mike Fonkert said in a press release.
“It is impossible to ignore the lifelong consequences that such a disparate school discipline system has on young people of color.”
The report is part of Appleseed Network’s mission to stop the “school-to-prison pipeline” that disproportionately impacts students of color. The pipeline is the pattern in which students who are suspended or expelled are more likely to drop out of high school and become involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
Appleseed Network proposes more state and federal legislation mandating consistent, accessible, and thorough data collection, and transparent data to make schools safer for all students.