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Our Girls, Our Future

Across the country, large numbers of Black students are pushed out of the classroom and into the juvenile or criminal justice system through the school-to-prison pipeline. One reason is that the number of police in schools has increased dramatically in recent decades, expanding juvenile or criminal justice involvement for youth. National data on school-based arrests and referrals to law enforcement reveals that Black and Latinx students are disproportionately targeted for harsh punishment. Moreover, national data shows that Black girls are the fastest growing demographic affected by school discipline, arrests, and referrals to the juvenile justice system. For Black girls, the pathways to the juvenile justice system disproportionately involve unaddressed social-emotional needs at school. Despite this reality, students’ educational experiences are often left out of conversations about juvenile or criminal justice reform—in particular, the experiences of Black girls in schools. Baltimore is at the beginning of a substantial effort to reform policing and its criminal justice system, but the experiences of Black girls in Baltimore City Public School System (“BCPSS”)—and the pathways that lead to their involvement with the justice systems— have been largely overlooked in this process.