MadameNoire Featured Video

Sweet kindergarten student

Source: SDI Productions / Getty

In 2015 imagery of a South Carolina school resource officer forcefully flipping a Black teen girl in her desk prompted an immediate response once the video went viral.

However, there was a profoundly important fact that many Black women in America knew all too well, but was barely scratching the surface of public awareness.

Dr. Monique Morris, an esteemed scholar and researcher, has spent years unveiling the mass injustice of how Black girls are policed and disciplined in the American school system. Morris is the creator of a new documentary, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, titled after her groundbreaking book of the same name, which takes a necessary look at this epidemic grounded in systemic racism and the de-valuement we’ve placed on Black women across centuries.

“I would like schools to become locations for healing so that they can become locations for learning,” Morris says in a trailer for the documentary.

Morris interviewed more than 150 girls, educators, and justice professionals and visited more than 30 communities to aid in her research.

Pushout is slated to release on PBS next year.

Morris’ work also corroborates a disturbing 2017 report from the National Women’s Law Center which showed that Black girls are more than five times more likely to be suspended than white girls and are six times more likely to be expelled.

In an interview with CBS News, one of the girls featured in the documentary named Samaya Dillard, recants her experience with her second grade teacher who physically assaulted by her instructor after an incident between Samaya and another student escalated.

“She then grabbed my chair that I was sitting in and dragged me across the room to the door and sat me outside,” Samaya told CBS.

Samaya’s parents took legal action against the teacher and the school district located in Sacramento. And while her parents were able to reach a settlement, the experience had a profound, devastating effect on Samaya, to the point where she contemplated taking her life at the age of seven.

“We are people too, and that we want to be heard. … Black girls are loved and sacred,” Samaya said.

Morris believes “black girlhood and womanhood is constructed by these ideas in our society — of them being hypersexual, of them being loud and angry.”

The work to unravel this level of injustice will need to consist of a continued joint effort between educators, school administrators and the law enforcement officers hired to police in American schools.

“I want people to walk away from this documentary understanding, number one, that our girls are not disposable… and to really think about how we can shift our understanding of what constitutes a bad attitude or sassiness or combativeness,” Morris told CBS.


Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN