CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Demands for “Sisterly” Love: Exploring the Hyperpenalization of Black Girls in the School District of Philadelphia

Danielle Miles-Langaigne, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Nancy Hirschmann

Date of this Version: 13 April 2021



An immense amount of research, memos, and scholarship has surfaced in the last decade considering the school-to-prison pipeline and Black boys’ involuntary participation in it. Various education scholars have presented data emphasizing how Black male students are disproportionately punished–notably in ways that negatively impact their prospects for educational attainment, social mobility, and long-term empowerment. Many, however, fail to consider their close counterparts: Black girls. This thesis expands upon the Crenshaw, Ocen, and Nanda (2015) report to see if Black girls are also disproportionately penalized in Philadelphia public schools within the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) at higher rates relative to female students of other races. The thesis also employs relative risk ratios to determine, through an intra-gender analysis between Black and white students, if Black girls are disproportionately penalized at higher rates relative to Black boys.

The aforementioned scholars created a report on school discipline within Boston and New York City Public Schools. Their intra-gender analyses found that Black girls had a statistically greater risk of experiencing suspension and expulsion relative to female students of other races. This paper applies quantitative research methods through disciplinary data collection from the Civil Rights Data Collection Tool via the Department of Education. Additionally, the project weaves together education policy and political theory to investigate (1) how discourses of power, marginality, and intersectionality inform hyperpenalization; and (2) existing alternatives to current punitive paradigmatic practices.


American Politics | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Education Law | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Law and Gender | Law and Race | Other Education | Political Theory | Prison Education and Reentry | Race and Ethnicity | Secondary Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education | Social Justice

Suggested Citation

Miles-Langaigne, Danielle, "Demands for “Sisterly” Love: Exploring the Hyperpenalization of Black Girls in the School District of Philadelphia" 13 April 2021. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 28 April 2021




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