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Justice

Black Girls Matter, and Schools Are Letting Them Down

Specialized support for young black men in schools is necessary, but young black women face their own distinct challenges.
Toria Bowens, 18, a senior at Jena High School, sits with freshman Jimekia Howard, 14, as they watch supporters of the "Jena 6" arrive in Jena, Louisiana, in 2007. A new report looks at how girls of color are faring in schools today.
Toria Bowens, 18, a senior at Jena High School, sits with freshman Jimekia Howard, 14, as they watch supporters of the "Jena 6" arrive in Jena, Louisiana, in 2007. A new report looks at how girls of color are faring in schools today.Sean Gardner/Reuters

In New York City public schools, black boys are disciplined six times more often than their white counterparts. This should concern everyone. In those same schools, black girls are disciplined 10 times more often than white girls. Even more alarming.

The story's the same in Boston. Though less than a third of the girls enrolled in Boston schools during the 2011–2012 school year were black, 61 percent of the girls who were punished during this span were African American. Black girls are disciplined 11 times more often than white girls, a gulf much broader than the (sizable) gap between black boys and white boys.