For girls, as with boys, the failure to receive a high school diploma often places individuals on a pathway to low-wage work, unemployment, and incarceration. The imposition of harsh disciplinary policies in public schools is a well-known risk factor for stunted educational opportunities for Black and Latino boys. Such punishments also negatively affect their female counterparts, as do other conditions in zero-tolerance schools. Yet, the existing research, data, and public policy debates often fail to address the degree to which girls face risks that are both similar to and different from those faced by boys. This silence about at-risk girls is multidimensional and cross-institutional. The risks that Black and other girls of color confront rarely receive the full attention of researchers, advocates, policy makers, and funders. As a result, many educators, activists, and community members remain underinformed about the consequences of punitive school policies on girls as well as the distinctly gendered dynamics of zero-tolerance environments that limit their educational achievements … The research reflected in this report was designed to elevate the voices of Black girls and other girls of color affected by punitive policies so as to deepen our understanding of the ways they experience inhospitable educational environments and to produce recommendations designed to eliminate those inequities (p. 10-11).
Sections of this report following an executive summary include: the racialized and gendered contours of the crisis; the hidden toll of race on Black girls—what the data suggest—the substantial risk factors of race and ethnicity, racialized risk of punishment, racial disparity, and disproportionate discipline rates, expulsion rates, and suspension rates; what girls know—nine themes from focus group and stakeholder interviews; what can be done--recommendations for addressing the needs of girls of color; and conclusion. This website provides access to the full report, the executive summary, and a "Black Girls Matter: Social Media Guide, which provides images, tweets, and key messages for you to use in promoting the basic point that Black Girls Matter.