Pressley hearing to focus on girls of color in local schools

Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley will hold a first-ever hearing for girls of color who attend Boston-area schools this afternoon in Dudley Square. The listening-only hearing, which will take place at the Bruce C. Bolling Building in from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., will feature testimony from girls of color and their families about the impact of school policies on their well-being and academic experiences.

The hearing follows a recent controversy surrounding the Cook sisters at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, who were punished in May for wearing hair braid extensions. The school has since changed its policy following news reports and a public backlash.

Aishatu Yusuf, Senior Education Policy Fellow for the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, will testify at today's hearing on behalf of Dr. Monique Morris, author of the book *Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools." She is expected to discuss NBWJI’s research and initial findings from focus groups conducted this summer.

School personnel from Boston-area schools have been invited to attend the hearing to listen. A second hearing is planned for October.

“The school-to-prison pipeline is growing for girls," Councillor Pressley said in a statement. "That’s why I started Project Focus: Girls of Color to empower girls of color as policy stakeholders and school culture reformers. I want to ensure that here in Boston, our policies and programs are co-constructed with our girls, and have the intended outcomes that lead to safe and productive school environments for all students.”

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