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Film sparks a conversation about racism and discipline in Milwaukee schools

Posted at 9:49 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 13:35:20-05

MILWAUKEE — Teachers and students at Milwaukee Public Schools use a documentary to start a conversation of race and discipline. It is an issue MPS has been working on since a federal agreement two years ago that found African Americans students were disciplined at a higher rate than their peers.

The documentary Pushout looks at the criminalization of black girls in schools.

"I have felt like I was disciplined differently because of race and my gender and my age," said sophomore Nina Jackson.

According to the U.S Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, black girls in high school are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls and three times more likely to be referred to law enforcement.

Two years ago Milwaukee Schools reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. Federal officials found MPS was disciplining black students more severely than white students for the same offenses.

"Girls were two times likely to be suspended than non-black students and one a half times more likely to be expelled," said Angela Harris, MPS Teacher and chair of the Black Educators Caucus.

Harris said they are advocating the end to zero-tolerance discipline policies and she hopes this film sparks a bigger conversation among teachers and students.

"Student voices are at the center of this so they should know they should take ownership of what their schooling actually looks like," said Harris.

The documentary is part of MPS Black Lives Matter week. The full schedule of events is listed here.

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