American schools need to talk about race and gender at the same time.
Last August, a 12-year-old Georgia student named Mikia Hutchings faced expulsion from school and criminal charges in juvenile court. Her offense? Writing the word “Hi” on a locker room stall with a friend. Eventually she was ordered to spend a summer under probation, but not before her grandmother filed a discrimination complaint and a state senator called out the punishment as unjust—Hutchings is African American, while the caucasian student who graffitied with her paid a small restitution.
“What kid needs to be having a conversation with a lawyer about the right to remain silent?” her lawyer told The New York Times. “White kids don’t have those conversations; black kids do.” In Georgia, black female students receive suspensions five times more frequently than their white counterparts, a school district spokesman told the Times.