Book Review: Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

By Monique W. Morris – Reviewed by Eve Ross*

Cover of PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris.

New York; London: The New Press, 2018. 304p. $17.43, paperback. Also available as e-book or e-audiobook. Find it at a local library through worldcat.org. If purchased through bookshop.org, sales support independent bookstores.

Monique W. Morris, co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, has written the first book for a general readership demonstrating how Black girls are wrongly perceived and unjustly treated by authority figures starting in school and ending in police, court, and detention systems.

Morris provides detailed insight into the lives and education environments of specific Black girls. The girls’ narratives are interwoven with statistics showing how often similar patterns are replicated across the US.

Morris recommends a multifaceted approach—more than changes of law and policy alone—to center the experience of Black girls, increase cultural competence and gender responsiveness, and make the education of Black girls the nurturing and uplifting experience that the adults in charge should provide.

Appendix A provides straightforward answers to questions that Black girls, their families, and their teachers are likely to have. Appendix B discusses alternatives to punishment, including positive behavioral intervention systems and restorative justice.

*Eve Ross, 2020. Reference Librarian, Law Library, University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, South Carolina.