Child Q: A Case Study of the Adultification of Black Girls in Schools


Sylvia Ikomi is an early career researcher who is completing an Economic and Social Research Council Stuart Hall Foundation 1 + 3 PhD studentship in education at the University of Leeds. In 2022 the news of the strip searching of a Black secondary school girl (now referred to as Child Q) in a school/academy in London appeared in the news headlines. Child Q’s school/academy called the police concerning an issue of potential drug possession by Child Q. She was subjected to a traumatic intimate strip search by police officers, whilst menstruating, in the absence of an Appropriate Adult and without her mother being informed (The City of London and Hackney/CHSCP, 2022, p.2). This incident has led to a wider public discussion about the adultification of Black girls. Whilst a significant amount of coverage has been given to the police’s role in the case of Child Q, this article explores the role of Child’s Q’s school/academy and how its actions leading up to and on the day of this incident are arguably demonstrative of the wider issue of the adultification of Black girls in schools and academies. This case study helps readers to answer the question how do teachers’ adultify Black girls through their discourse? This is done through an analysis of the case of Child Q and the wider academic literature on this topic. The article is approached from the perspective of inferences that can be made from the facts that were published in the Independent Child Commissioner’s report through a critical discourse analysis with a conclusion that society’s adultified discourse about Black girls can put Black girls in a position in which they require safeguarding from their safeguarders.

Author Information
Sylvia Ikomi, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2023
Stream: Primary & Secondary Education

This paper is part of the ECE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Ikomi S. (2023) Child Q: A Case Study of the Adultification of Black Girls in Schools ISSN: 2188-1162 The European Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon