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After screening the documentary, you can use this discussion guide to lead conversations with friends, family, and community members.

We believe that educators can play a large role in spearheading necessary conversations about bias, with students – talks that allow for the critical analysis of perception, inequitable systems and policies. By doing so we can begin to shift entrenched attitudes and antiquated formulas, leading to positive change in the lives of Black girls and all of us.

Please use this guide as a conversation framework from which to draw upon after screening PUSHOUT. For your convenience, the guide is broken into chapters associated with the film.

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.

The documentary does the following:

  • Profiles Black girls as they address how school-based practices have hindered, but also helped them navigate their lives.
  • Looks at the relevance of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how childhood trauma among Black girls are adultified in schools and beyond.
  • Examines how awareness of childhood trauma can help girls redirect their lives.
  • Examines how school officials,  principals and teachers can find new pathways for discipline that concentrate on the reasons behind certain behaviors rather than punishment for those behaviors.
  • Profiles schools and organizations that are making a difference in Black girls lives,  African American Female Excellence (Oakland Unified School District), Columbus City Preparatory School for girls (Columbus, Ohio), National Crittendon (Portland, Oregon), S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective (Miami, Florida) and EMERGE (Alameda County, California) are featured.  All discuss alternatives to suspensions and expulsions, inculcating community-based and more culturally appropriate responses.
  • Explains how “adultification” of Black girls (seeing them as older and more sexually mature than they really are) impacts the responses of adults.
  • Looks at how the development of the adolescent brain influences young people’s ability to make rational and positive decisions.
  • Profiles teachers, mentors, judges and principals who have found new ways of working with Black girls that emphasize their inherent value and dignity.

Discussion Guide By

Rebecca C. Gross, Educator