Black Girls’ Experiences in Schools: Adopting an Alternative, Strengths-Based Model to Discipline
Although research on Black students disproportionality in suspensions and expulsions has been conducted since the 1970s, it has mainly centered Black male students (Smith-Evans et al., 2014). For decades, there has been an assumption in the education field that Black girls are having positive experiences in school settings since their achievement scores and graduation rates have been higher than their Black male counterparts. Recent research from Crenshaw et al. (2015) and Morris (2016) shows that Black girls are negatively impacted by school disciplinary policies, as they are disproportionately suspended and expelled at rates higher than any other group when broken down by the same gender. Utilizing intersectionality as a framework, this Capstone will consider why Black adolescent girls who attend public schools engage in behaviors that lead to punitive consequences; the outcomes of such policies; alternative models to stringent disciplinary policies, especially zero-tolerance; and the possible outcomes of alternative models on Black girls. I will further consider the necessary components of alternative disciplinary models in ensuring that Black girls are validated, maintained, and supported in school settings.