Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Monique W. Morris, Lateshia Woodley
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Program: 
6:30 pm

For Black girls, in particular, the struggle for equality starts early – in school hallways and classrooms, where disciplinary actions often are disproportionately harsh. 

In Missouri, according to analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union, African American girls are five times more likely to be arrested in school than their white classmates. In other states, it’s as much as 11 times. More than misbehavior, studies place blame on how the girls’ behavior is judged and the fact that similar behaviors are treated differently.  

The disparity has led to an alarming high school dropout rate for Black girls and swell of their cases in the juvenile justice system. 

Monique W. Morris, an award-winning author and social justice scholar who is executive director of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, examines the issue in a public conversation drawing from her book Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School and documentary film of the same name. She is joined by Dr. Lateshia Woodley, Kansas City Public Schools’ assistant superintendent of student support. 

The online event is presented on Women’s Equality Day

In addition to her work with Grantmakers for Girls of Color, an organization that focuses on the structural inequities faced by girls and young women of color, Morris is founder and chair of the board of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute. She is the author of three other books including Sing A Rhythm, Dance A Blues: Education for the Liberation of Black and Brown Girls.  

She was an executive producer and co-writer of the 2019 film adaptation of Pushout

Woodley, who joined Kansas City’s public schools system a little more than three years ago, has worked  since 2008 to turn around some of the lowest-performing schools in Georgia and now in Missouri. She is a recipient of Georgia’s statewide Outstanding Woman in Education Award and the Georgia Association for Alternative Education’s Administrator of the Year Award, among other honors. She also is founder of Dynamic Achievement Solutions, a psychiatric counseling and consulting service. 

The Library presentation is co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Women's Equality Coalition of Greater Kansas City. Watch it live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary

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