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Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,401 ratings  ·  235 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Diamond stopped going to school the day she was expelled for lashing out at peers who constantly harassed and teased her for something everyone on the staff had missed: she was being trafficked for sex. After months on the run, she was arrested and sent to a detention center for violating a court order to attend school.

Just 16 percent of female students in
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by The New Press (first published January 5th 2016)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,401 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Whatever you're doing.... Whatever you're reading... Stop and go get this book.

I suppose I may be biased. I went to public schools that seemed to value adhering to a dress code more than educating children and so the bite of this book feels especially real. Monique Morris doesn't just paint a picture of the plight of black girls in public schools across the country—she points out all of the ways the good guys are culpable. The ways teachers, counselors, teachers, parents, and fellow students are
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
In October of 2015, 16-year-old Shakara was thrown from her school desk by a school resource officer because she didn’t put away her cell phone. While this recorded incident quickly gained media attention, similar situations take place in classrooms across the country on a daily basis. In her new book, Monique W. Morris explores the way black girls are often stereotyped and misunderstood by their teachers and schools, which can leave them excluded from the education they deserve.

“…a 2007 study f
Ashleigh Rose
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for all educators and policy makers. Review to come.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Blown away at what i've learned, and had (sadly) confirmed reading this book. Everyone with children particularly girls, no matter their race, should read this book. Yes it's about black girls however I know many parents with young white girls who are labeled early on as "aggressive" or "hard-to-handle" and are treated pretty similarly to how their black sisters are in school when labeled. Anyways, it is a succinct and well-written book about something too familiar in the black community, s ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Monique W. Morris has done it again.

A while back I had the pleasure of reviewing her first book, Black Stats. And as much as Black Stats was extensively researched and illuminating, Pushout has gone above and beyond. This book is a call to action, and now I need to get the work. To read the rest of this review and to see a mini documentary about this book from Health Happens Here Click Here
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education-reads
Where to begin. Aside from the fact that I want to quote every page of this book for starters - this is one of the best academic kind of books I've read in awhile (coming off a Masters of Ed Program, which I wish this text could have been a part of). Incredibly researched, the footnotes and research do not detract from the book, as will often happen, but makes you actually want to read the footnotes (a experience I don't get all too often!). The mix of narratives from her interviews with girls, ...more
Esther | braveliteraryworld
I am not sure how to review this book. There were a few things that bothered me, but drawing attention to them would draw attention away from the main message. And the main message is essential for any educator, policy maker, tax payer, or human being to understand.

The truth of the matter is that in America, black people were forced to be slaves. When they were finally freed, Americans (mostly Southern but those in the north also played a huge part) made laws that restricted the freedoms of bla
"The 'attitude' often attributed to Black girls casts as undesirable the skills of being astute at reading their location - where they sit along the social hierarchy - and overcoming the attendant obstacles. These were lessons learned through generations of struggle, and these lessons sit at the apex of what provides Black women and girls the audacity to demand being treated with dignity. However, when the way of the world includes a general lack of cultural competence and an aversion to valuing ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I think this book is relevant to libraries as a place with adults who are authority figures in the lives of young black women. I found the appendices helpful and I think as adults in a young black woman's life in school, or public libraries we have a responsibility to learn as much as we can about the triggers and issues they face in their lives that can affect how we interact with them in our spaces.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
An important book and a rather useful as well. Morris details the reason why young Black women do not graduate school and why they are expelled at high rates. She also highlights ways to deal with the problem - part of it is shift in culture. The book includes a question and answer secton which is most useful.
Edward Sullivan
Disturbing, enlightening and important. Essential reading for educators.
Rose Peterson
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was a surreal experience to look up from this book to see the black girls in my classroom demonstrating exactly what Morris describes. I appreciated her incorporation of critical race theory--double consciousness, internalized racism--as well as feminist theory in addressing the often-overlooked issue of how the criminalization of education uniquely affects black girls. In a world where the answers to what it means to be black almost always refer to what it means to be a black man, this book ...more
Cindy Vincent
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book shares the data and interviews she accumulated in her study of criminalization of black girls in schools. Appendix A provided a Q & A for girls, parents, community members and educators. It also provides a list of resources and programs for African American girls. Appendix B highlighted 2 alternatives to punishment. The one alternative is currently being implemented in our school district. The other alternative I heard about at a continuing educational seminar I attended recently. T ...more
An engaging read that is accessible to every educator. I did not feel overwhelmed by data nor research jargon that makes it difficult to understand the author's intentions and perspective. Morris clearly wants anyone to get what she's saying and I can appreciate that. I spent so much time focuses on my practice as an educator as I moved through each chapter of the book that touched on every topic that matters around schools from dress codes to student-teacher relationships. And then to hear the ...more
Amy Gonzalez
I appreciated this book on two levels. The first and fundamental level is the overall message of Morris' work which is that there are systems in place that "push out" Black girls from schools. Professionals in education need to look at school practices not only through a racial lens, but also consider how gender biases play a role. The other way I got impacted was on a research level. Morris is meticulous with citing her resources and does some in depth explaining of her research process. It ser ...more
Ellen Heiman
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once you start this book, you will tear through it with fervor. It will enrage you, it will shock you, and it will compel you to act. Monique Morris is an incredible researcher, listener, and story teller. You will meet many girls, by full name, throughout the book, and you will read their experiences being validated and their stories being told. This is a must read for anyone who considers themselves an aspiring ally, a feminist, or an educator.
Stephanie Haffa
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
So necessary if you have any part in education... or you just live in the United States. Many people are removed from this issue but they need to know.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
this is a good book to introduce yourself to the injustices of the juvenile justice system. it can be a bit condescending at times, as the author goes back on points she’s trying to make, but if you get past those it really does provide good information. i recommend not stopping with this book, because it is a pretty surface level explanation of just some of the problems young black girls face.
Lance Eaton
Like so many other powerful books that fight to open up wider the discourse on black identity in the white-supremacist culture, Morris' prose articulates truths and presents research to show the ways in which the K-12 system creates situations and standards that disproportionately drive out black girls. Her work weaves together interviews, statistics, and policies, which provides a keen sense of how both schools and communities are often complicit in targetting and/or neglecting the needs or cha ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
I have had the opportunity to hear Dr. Monique Morris speak several times this year at conferences and meetings and have soaked up the spot-on race and gender analysis of sexual violence that she has put forward.

In this book, which expands the school-to-prison pipeline discussion to the lives of black girls, she lets the voices of the girls affected by disproportionate racial and gender policing in schools speak for themselves, making this a book that is both incredibly powerful and heartbreaki
Tiera San
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The education of children is important, especially in communities of color. I am involved in a wonderful organization called CDF Freedom Schools. They recognize that it is important to train teachers to teach children from all backgrounds, to make sure that all children have access to an education and that their learning materials reflect their own culture and experiences. In talking about the cradle to prison pipeline or the school to prison pipeline, it is often referring to black males, but b ...more
Ari Santillanes
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luana Kay
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Leonard
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Offering a historic and structural discussion of the very conditions that have led to the criminalization of black girls, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the hyper surveillance and policing directed at black girls, Monique Morris also produces a book that centers their voices and experiences. Whereas so often books that importantly document institutional shifts, policy, statistics, and history in work erase the very people and communities directly impacted, Pushout never dims the spotlight on ...more
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every teacher, administrator or staff member at schools should read this book, period. Morris presents the heartbreaking stories of Black girls who have been pushed out school systems across the country, while also providing a massive amount of evidence to argue that they are being uniquely failed by educators. Additionally, Morris does an amazing job of breaking down social justice concepts for readers, making this one of the most accessible books on a very complicated issue. There's no excuse ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I picked up this book, I was expecting it to read more like a Professional Development guidebook. Instead, this book was so much more. It offered narratives of girls who are faced with the school to prison pipeline, supported with academic research and evidence. The most valuable chapter for me (as a new educator) was Chapter 5 where Morris gives specific advice on how to repair relationships with these girls and keep them on the right track. This is an important read for any educator!
Avatara Smith carrington
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was honestly the most validating literary experience I've had in a minute. Dr. Morris' ability to weave the narratives of the young girls sharing their truth with the hard facts is not only captivating but also strategically important in her push for intentional and intersectional work to be done with/for black girls in stopping Pushout. This is honestly a must read for anyone who works with black girls...
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Must read for anyone who works in education at any level. It's not complicated: students of color are treated differently by educators. Not always in ways that are harmful or beneficial. But a black girl acting with "attitude" is much more likely to be disciplined harshly than a student of any other gender or race or ethnicity. And the only reason is a lack of understanding. All shitty behavior should be treated equally--listen, think, take a few seconds, respond. It's your job.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
The stories are heartbreaking and important. But the tone of the writing is academic and a bit hard to dive into. I was hoping for a more narrative style. Even so, those of us working in the field of education should read this book.
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Are you a bad girl or a good girl? Why? 1 6 Jan 24, 2017 04:02PM  
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“Black girls are likened more to adults than to children and are treated as if they are willfully engaging in behaviors typically expected of Black women—sexual involvement, parenting or primary caregiving, workforce participation, and other adult behaviors and responsibilities. This compression is both a reflection of deeply entrenched biases that have stripped Black girls of their childhood freedoms and a function of an opportunity-starved social landscape that makes Black girlhood interchangeable with Black womanhood. It gives credence to a widely held perception and a message that there is little difference between the two.” 2 likes
“Girls like Mia and Shanice draw important connections between their desire to learn and their inability to do so in chaotic learning environments. Across the country, Black girls have repeatedly described “rowdy” classroom environments that prevent them from being able to focus on learning. They also described how the chaotic learning environment has, in some cases, led to their avoidance of school or to reduced engagement in school. In other situations, girls described contentious and negative interactions between teachers and students as the norm. In today’s climate of zero tolerance, where there are few alternatives to punishing problematic student behavior, the prevailing school discipline strategy, with its heavy reliance on exclusionary practices—dismissal, suspension, or expulsion—becomes a predictable, cyclical, and ghettoizing response.” 1 likes
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