#BlackGirlsMatter: African American Girls' Experiences with School Discipline Practices and Their Academic Identity in Middle School
This qualitative study explored the relationship between ten African American girls' experiences with discipline practices and their academic identity in middle school. In the U.S., Black girls continue to suffer from inequitable treatment in school discipline resulting in disparate academic outcomes and have higher suspension rates than all other students including boys. This study attempted to answer the central question: what is the relationship between students' experiences with school
... es with school discipline practices and their academic identity? Ten African American girls associated with a middle school in New York fit the following criteria: (1) students in grades 6-8; a female student (2) self-identified as being African American (3) have received an out of school suspension in the previous school year. A one-on-one interview was conducted with the girls individually. The five major themes were related to: (a) good vs. bad student, (b) strict rules, (c) negative and positive teacher-student relationships, (d) different treatment by black and white teachers, and (e) role of peers. The conclusions derived from the study were: (1) African American girls educational experiences are influenced by teachers' and administrators' lack of cultural knowledge and understanding; thus, teachers and administrators can reflect how their biases manifest themselves in disciplinary actions, educational outcomes and student participation (2) teachers and administrators can work together to develop different ways to support African Americans to feel welcome and safe in school. (3) Teachers and administrators need to review and revise the current school discipline policies that are too harsh. Addressing these issues will help support African American girls to be successful in middle school.