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Study: Black girls disproportionately criminalized in Florida schools

See The Girl organization wants to improve opportunities for young Black girls

A new study led by the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center shows Black girls within Florida’s school system are far more likely to be arrested than girls of a different skin color.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new study led by the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center shows Black girls within Florida’s school system are far more likely to be arrested than girls of a different skin color.

Here’s what the study found:

  • Black girls account for nearly half (49%) of the 46,666 girls suspended from school.
  • Black girls represent almost half (49%) of the 1,529 girls who made contact with law enforcement at schools for incidents eligible for a civil citation or alternatives to arrest.
  • Over the last five years, one-fourth of Black girls eligible for a civil citation in school were arrested instead.

“We set out to look at these trends that black girls are overrepresented in the last, since the justice system was born in 1994 here in Florida, and we really wanted to back up and see what is contributing to these numbers, and we found that school is a major way into the juvenile just system,” said Dr. Vanessa Patino-Lydia, the lead researcher on the project.

READ: See the full report: Sounding the Alarm: Criminalization of Black Girls in Florida

The study used information from the Florida Department of Education and Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to get exact numbers of how many Black girls are ending up in the juvenile system.

The policy center plans to use this information to push for changes.

“I think at this point it’s really important for us to look at adult responses that are pushing girls, specifically black girls deeper into the juvenile justice system,” said Vicky Basra, president and CEO of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center.

Basra said that includes giving out more citations instead of making arrests in every situation.

“I think there’s an opportunity here to increase training, to change some policies and to look at how we’re doing out work right now,” added Basra.

The policy center hopes this research will address and improve the disparity within the justice system.

Basra and Patino-Lydia took a closer look with us on The Morning Show at how this affects children long term. You can watch the interview below

For more information, visit Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center - See the Girl.

Research shows that young black girls are more often let down by Florida education and juvenile justice systems. Preside and CEO of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Vicky Basra, and the lead researcher on this project, Dr. Vanessa Patino-Lydia join us to take a closer look at the this affects these children long term.

About the Authors:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.