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Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  5,394 ratings  ·  739 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
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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 ·  5,394 ratings  ·  739 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
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, race
I saw an image on Facebook today, a Soviet propaganda cartoon from 1964. It was of a Black boy trying to get into a school where two white children already sat in the school yard. The Black child was blocked by hooded Klansmen forming a wall circling the school. The cartoon was called something like ‘first lesson’. I’ve watched in horror at how quickly the US has descended back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. The murder, often without consequence, of people of colour by police has sparked dem ...more
Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
A heartbreaking but illuminating look at how Black girls are treated in America, particularly in our schools. Author Monique W. Morris spent four years chronicling individual cases of Black girls across the country, interviewing them and observing their classroom dynamics.

Ms. Morris includes numerous statistics that highlight just how bad it is, how Black girls are criminalized - even children as young as six years old are handcuffed and arrested - and pushed out of our educational systems. She
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
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
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.
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
Edward Sullivan
Disturbing, enlightening and important. Essential reading for educators.
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
Amanda Hupe
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Not every investment requires money. As the girls in this book have shown, they want to know that people care about them and their well-being. They want to be seen and acknowledged for who they are and what they can contribute to the learning environment. Our collective community can respond to their needs by being there for them. But many schools around the country have also established girls’ groups as a way to provide encouragement for girls simply by convening them in regular conversation a ...more
More later
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. ...more
Esther | lifebyesther
Jamie Huston
Apr 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
A review in 30 points:

1. In 2005, I read David Shipler’s then-new book The Working Poor, where he used people’s narratives to build a case that the American economy was rigged against those who were poor. The beam in his eye, though, is that nearly all of his dozens of stories read like this: “So-and-so dropped out of high school, got pregnant a few times, and keeps getting arrested for drugs and shoplifting and now she can’t even get a dignified job that pays a living wage, people, it’s a night
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.
Mary Thomas
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for educators. Grateful for Morris’s scholarship.
"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
Fancy Singleton
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: impressive-reads
Did you see the Judge sentence the young 15 year old to "jail time" for not doing her homework? If you've already had glimpsed into what I just read - Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris.

Pushout was an incredible book that is spot on. Our girls are being victimized in the schools, by teachers, by systems. Our girls are prejudged based on hair texture, body composition and the clothes that they wear. Our girls are forgotten about when they are kid
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting topic told in the most boring possible fashion.

Told as some kind of ethnography the stories of the girls are trite and do little to engender any kind of sympathy to or understanding of the difficulties that they face or the institutionalization of an entire people or the specifics of gender.

Focusing as it does on these 'stories' it becomes a boring race to the bottom of stereotype. The facts and figures are useful and insightful, but hidden in the mess of moralizing and b
Hope Martin
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audio. I constantly strive to make my school environment better, and this book definitely lead to some insightful information that I needed to know. A great resource for all teachers wanting to reflect on discipline, student-teacher relationships, and specifically educating black girls within their school. Each child is different. It's our responsibility as educators to know the wide span of challenges and hardships all of our students face. Paired with my reading of "The New Jim Crow" this was ...more
Grace W
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
(c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) There isn't much in this book that is overall shocking when you know a certain amount about Black feminism, but the focus on schools and the way those schools have failed Black girls is really eye opening. It has a lot to say and it says it very well. The use of real girls experiences and stories makes you feel as if you are in the room with these girls. I'm not sure how anyone can read this book and not want to take action. Luckily, the book appendix has so ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
As we become MORE aware of huge systemic issues of mass incarceration, this book reminds us to look at young women, and not just focus our whole attention on young black men. Girls face racial issues, but also gendered issues, stemming from slavery through today where they are considered more mouthy, more sexualized, and more nonconforming just be being themselves. All of which puts them at a greater danger of being punished as “willful” which can all to easily redirect them out of the school sy ...more
Danielle Schiestle
Anyone who is in education needs to read this. I highly recommend the audiobook!
B Sarv
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris
Monique W. Morris, Race, Gender, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Expanding Our Discussion to Include Black Girls (New York: African American Policy Forum, 2012).

In the past several years I have been able to read a number of books about the Criminal Legal System (as some of you may know, I cannot associate the word justice with this system). I am also an educator. Students of mine have presented projects on the “school
Rebecca Vogelezang
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars rounded down to 3
I've made it a point in the last year of my teaching career to educate myself so that I can better educate my little ones. There was a lot of intriguing, compelling information presented in Pushout, but I had a few problems with the text as well.
One, a lot of statistics were shoved at readers with little interpretation followed up. Often, it would be a paragraph of statistics all crammed together and then a tiny analysis that failed to help me understand the "big pict
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 Che
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
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. The p ...more
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Are you a bad girl or a good girl? Why? 1 9 Jan 24, 2017 04:02PM  

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24 likes · 5 comments
“For Black girls, to be "ghetto" represents a certain resilience to how poverty has shaped racial and gender oppression. To be "loud" it to demand to be heard. To have an "attitude" is to reject a doctrine of invisibility and maltreatment. To be flamboyant--or "fabulous"--is to revise the idea that socioeconomic isolation is equated with not having access to materially desirable things. To be a ghetto Black girl, then, is to reinvent what it means to be Black, poor, and female.” 7 likes
“Without intentional efforts to combat old ways and norms, ... institutions ... reproduce dominant social ideas, hierarchies, and systems of oppression.” 6 likes
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