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Why are so many Black girls suspended?

Jawanza Kunjufu

Jawanza Kunjufu

Why are so many Black girls suspended?

By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

We all know about the plight of Black males being suspended. Twenty-four percent of Black males are suspended. Did you know 12 percent of Black females are suspended? Have Black girls been overlooked? Is the Black community comfortable and okay with 12 percent? I am not.

There are many reasons why Black girls are suspended. Sometimes, they are suspended because they chose to wear their hair in puffs, braids, or twists. Other times, they said God bless you after someone sneezed. Often-times, they rolled their eyes, rotated their neck, put their hands on their hips and said “whatever”. Some teachers are intimidated and afraid of Black girls. Some teachers feel Black girls are too loud and have too much attitude. Do you think that some teachers want Black girls to act like white girls and tone it down?

Can you imagine your five-year-old daughter was being disruptive and rather than the school calling you they called the police? They handcuffed her, put her in the police car and drove her by herself to the police station and then they called the parents!

Two girls, one White and one Black are caught chewing gum, dress code violation or possession of a mobile device. The White girl receives a warning and the Black girl receives a five day suspension.

Two girls, one white and the other Black are involved in a fight with each other. They both are suspended and sent to an alternative school. The White girl is allowed to return to her regular school after 90 days. The Black girl who had the same behavior as the White girl in the alternative school remains the entire year. She returns back to her regular school one year behind her peers.

A Black girl was asked to read a biography about Frederick Douglass. She was so mesmerized over his desire to become literate. She thought about the fact that almost two hundred years later only 10 percent of her school is proficient in reading. She was suspended for making this analogy.

Many Black girls are suspended because they are bullied and when they tell authorities no protection is provided. Many Black girls believe they are trapped between a rock and a hard place.

Another Black girl was suspended over her science project. She was excited about science and wanted to become an engineer, inventor or doctor. Un-fortunately, her science project blew up in class, she was suspended, expelled, given a felony and was labeled a terrorist!

A school wanted to catch a boy who had been sexually taking advantage of girls in the restroom. The principal decided to use a Black girl as bait. The girl was raped. The principal denied any involvement and the girl’s family has taken the case to the Justice Department.

Our girls deserve better. Our girls have been overlooked. They deserve a safe place to learn. They deserve teachers who are fair and honest.

Excerpt from both Educating Black Girls and Raising Black Girls.


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