RWU and Rhode Island PBS to Present "PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools" on May 10

Campus community invited to a film screening and panel discussion examining the issues of disparate treatment of Black girls in school systems across the country

Film section showing title and little girl

The award-winning documentary, PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, takes a close look at the educational, judicial, and societal disparities Black girls face in school systems across our country and how we can address the unequal treatment while working toward preventing it in the future. 

On Monday, May 10, at 7 p.m., Rhode Island PBS and Roger Williams University are partnering to present a film screening and panel discussion for the RWU community, as well as the greater Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts audience.

The film provides insight from experts across the country who have extensively worked in social justice, gender equality, and educational equity fields. PUSHOUT employs the compelling first-person narratives of five girls to illustrate the misunderstanding of Black girlhood. The film confronts how that misunderstanding leads to excessive punitive discipline, disrupting one of the most crucial factors in girls’ lives — their education.   

The May 10 virtual event features a preview of the film and a panel discussion, starting at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the RWU Education Department, School of Humanities, Arts and Education, and the Provost’s Office.

The event will open with a 20-minute segment from the film to set up the local conversation about the film and issues from Rhode Island’s perspective. Panelists will be Kiara Butler, CEO and founder of Rhode Island-based training company, Diversity Talks; Kamille Gentles-Peart, associate professor of Communication and Media Studies at RWU and co-founder of the Collaborative for Black Women and Girls; and Ellen Reinhardt, MTSS-RI (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) Implementation Specialist.  

“We are happy to collaborate with Roger Williams University to present this film and convene this panel of distinguished professionals to examine these critical issues,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of Rhode Island PBS. 

“The film PUSHOUT and many educational experts are exposing the persistent disparate, severe disciplinary treatment that Black girls are unfairly contending within schools across the country,” said Kimberlee Johnsen-Smith, Director of Partnerships and Field Experiences in the RWU Education Department. “Roger Williams University is pleased to partner with Rhode Island PBS on this event to help advance our mission of preparing our future educators to be equipped with the awareness of systemic injustices and to have the knowledge and skills to respond to all student needs, both academic and socio-emotional and behavioral, so that every student has the positive learning experiences to thrive and be successful.”  

The virtual event is free to attend, but registration is required for the screening link. For more information or to register, visit The full documentary will air on television Monday, May 10 at 9 p.m. and Thursday, May 13 at 10 p.m. on WSBE Rhode Island PBS, and streamed online at