MyGirlfriendsHouse1

A Prince George’s County nonprofit is offering an alternative course for middle- and high-school girls who were suspended or temporary expelled from schools in the Maryland jurisdiction.

My Girlfriend’s House, a nonprofit organization that supports at-risk women and teen girls in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, recently launched the Alternative School Suspension Program for female students in grades six through 10.

“We are very happy to be starting another beneficial program for our community girls,” said Veronica Eyenga, executive director of My Girlfriend’s House, in a statement. “We are hoping to empower these young girls to return to school with a positive mind frame and become more enthusiastic about staying in school.”

During the year-long program, participants will receive academic support, including homework assistance; one-on-one mentoring and other interactions; tutoring and overall nurturing. The goal, the organization said, is to keep the students academically engaged while they are out of school but also to help them avoid the penalties in the future.

The program could be a boon to African-American students in particular. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than White students. On average, the agency reported earlier this year, 5 percent of White students are suspended, compared to 16 percent of Black students.

The disparity is even starker among girls. While boys receive more than two out of three suspensions, African-American girls are suspended at higher rates (12 percent) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys.

For more information about the Alternative School Suspension Program and to apply, visit: http://www.mygirlfriendshouse.org/alternative-school-program/