Inspired by the groundbreaking book of the same name by Monique W. Morris, Ed.D, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, takes a deep dive into the lives of Black girls and the practices, cultural beliefs and policies that disrupts one of the most important factors in their lives – education. Alarmingly, African American girls are the fastest-growing population in the juvenile justice system and the only group of girls to disproportionately experience criminalization at every education level.
The film underscores the challenges Black girls face with insights from multiple experts across the country who have worked extensively in the fields of social and criminal justice, gender equality and educational equity, giving context to the crisis and providing a roadmap for how our educational system and those who interact with Black girls can provide a positive rather than punitive response to behaviors that are often misunderstood or misrepresented.
While the challenges facing Black boys in the U.S. have garnered national attention, absent from that conversation is how girls of color, particularly Black girls, are being impacted. Pushout addresses that crisis by focusing on the challenges Black girls face and emphasizing first-person narratives from them. Hearing from girls as young as seven and as old as 19, they describe navigating a society that often marginalizes and dismisses them. At the same time the documentary lays out how adults and policy makers can address the needs of these young girls and women with positive responses that can short circuit the pervasive over punishment of Black girls.
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New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art
Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special), NAACP Image Award
DTLA Film Festival, Audience Favorite
California Women's Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary
Women's Film Festival
Diversity Film and Script Showcase
California Women's Film Festival
DTLA Film Festival
iGen Film Festival
San Diego Black Film Festival
The Impact DOCS Awards
Pan African Film Festival
Toronto Black Film Festival
Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival
"Starred Review. Thought-provoking documentary...Especially poignant are the interviews with girls who have faced bullying and unkind treatment from both teachers and students...This is sure to prompt thoughtful discussion among educators. Teens facing similar issues will be comforted by these stories." — Booklist
"How the film uses the girls' stories as they navigate the education system, and the struggles they face within it, is both heartbreaking and revealing and, at the end, hopeful...This mix of stark reality and hopeful optimism is highly recommended for collections in Sociology, Education, Gender Studies, and African American studies for use by general audiences." — Educational Media Reviews Online
"A new documentary, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools takes viewers into the journeys of five black female students who have confronted, and overcome, the school “pushout” phenomenon, which is most often associated with black boys. Throughout the film, you hear from young black women who explain how their treatment in school pushed them to the edge. One young girl describes contemplating jumping onto a freeway after being mistreated by her teacher in the second grade."
— New York Times
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "I want people to walk away from this documentary understanding, number one, that our girls are not disposable...and to really think about how we can shift our understanding of what constitutes a bad attitude or sassiness or combativeness.
The documentary is a tool to explore how educators, parents, and policy makers can demonstrate that we love our girls and hold them, and their educational opportunities, as sacred to our community."
-Monique W. Morris, Ed.D