In an effort to shed light on the experiences of Black girls in an after-school program, this study captures how their peer and teacher relationships were impacted by in-school suspension(s). Over the course of eight weeks, an ethnographic case study was conducted with two kindergarten Black girls who attended a predominately white after-school program. Using critical race theory and critical race feminism, this study adds to existing literature that reveals the harmful nature of in-school disciplinary practices on Black and Brown students in general, and Black girls in particular. The results of this study reveal how in-school punishment spills over into out-of-school spaces creating another site of Black punishment for Black girls. Informal learning spaces, such as aftercare programs, must consider the barriers associated with in-school suspensions and work with teachers and staff to offer a space that will honor students’ differences and allow children who are culturally misrepresented to have an informal learning experience where there is more grace given by teachers and caregivers, instead of disciplinary practices rooted in anti-blackness. What message are we sending to culturally diverse learners if we continue to punish and criminalize their behavior that is deemed to be problematic, as early as kindergarten?



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