This past April, Progressive Pupil partnered with Girls for Gender Equity on an Image Voice Workshop that sought to reimagine “school pushout” through photography. Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is a Brooklyn-based organization that works to promote the physical, psychological, social and economic well-being of girls and women through coalition building and youth development programming that educates and empowers young women to question the status quo. Led by Nefertiti Martin, community organizer for GGE and Progressive Pupil’s lead organizer, Dr. Robin Hayes, GGE’s motivated group of young women found a space to express their conflicted feelings around the punitive practice of rampant suspensions and expulsions for “bad” behavior in their high schools.
Throughout three sessions they were encouraged to explore ideas about bias, favoritism and criminalization that contribute to school pushout and encouraged to imagine alternatives to the harsh and, sometimes dangerous policy, that keeps students in fear of retribution, instead of rehabilitation. Using their smart phones and tablets, we present a few of the awesome pictures from the workshop that show the girls’ ability to imagine a kinder, more humane alternative to school pushout and speaks to the need for a gentler, less punitive approach to the treatment of all children in our society.
by Shannon J. Shird, MA, International Affairs, The New School