The School Girls Deserve: Creating Safe and Supportive Schools for Girls and Gender Nonconforming Youth of Color

Brittany Brathwaite, MPH, MSW, Organizing and Innovation Manager, Girls for Gender Equity

Findings from Girls for Gender Equity’s Participatory Research Project demonstrate that too many girls and transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth of color are criminalized, marginalized, and neglected because of beliefs, policies, and actions in their schools that render them vulnerable and unsafe in school settings. The School Girls Deserve seeks to center the voices and experiences of girls and TGNC youth of color in a range of conversations including harsh discipline and school pushouts as well as distribution of school resources and support. In this plenary, critical thinking about the many, converging ways in which racist, sexist, classist, Islamophobic, homophobic and transphobic practices marginalize girls and TGNC youth of color in their learning environments will be highlighted. In addition, a constellation of youth-centered visions and policy solutions that affirm and support all students will be presented. The end of the plenary will cover potential approaches  where young people are trusted to be experts in their own experiences and co-create the solutions for the schools they want, need, and deserve.

Following the completion of the afternoon plenary, participants will be able to:

  1. Define school pushout in relation to systemic, institutional and interpersonal oppression.
  2. Describe 4 school pushout factors impacting girls and TGNC of color.
  3. Apply participatory action research methods to identify pushout factors and uplift unique learning environment experiences in their own schools.