Community Rights Campaign
ALERT! City council to vote Wed 2/22 to roll back truancy ticketing--we need your support!
2/14 Update: Full city council vote moved to Wed 2/22. Details TBA.
We need your support and attendance at two important city council votes next week to support the educational, civil and human rights of students and their families across Los Angeles.
Both votes are for an exciting city council motion, introduced by LA City Councilmember Tony Cardenas (co-sponsored by Councilmember Bernard Parks) to overturn a long-standing practice of giving students $250 fines for being late for school or truant, with a practice of aggressive enforcement targeting Black and Latino neighborhoods and schools. The motion would amend the infamous Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) 45.04 “Day-Time Curfew” by curbing the practice of giving out tardy tickets under LAMC 45.04 and create support services to help students with the causes of their attendance problems.
We need you at these 2 votes:
1) Public Safety Committee vote. 10am, Monday, February 13th, 2012 at Van Nuys City Hall in the San Fernando Valley. This committee has jurisdiction over LAMC 45.04 and will debate Councilmember Cardenas’ amendment motion. We need them to vote to send the Cardenas motion to the full city council with a “vote yes” recommendation.
2) Full City Council vote. Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at LA City Hall. (We will post updated details here soon.)
3) Also, please sign this petition to let City Hall know you support this breakthrough reform! (And forward it on!)
We hope you will join us for both of these important city council votes—with the priority being the full City Council vote on Wednesday February 15. Please call Barbara Lott-Holland at 213-387-2800 for more details.
For many years, police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles School Police Department have been stopping, handcuffing, and ticketing inner city youth on their way to junior and senior high school. Why? An LA City Ordinance (LAMC 45.04 “Day-Time Curfew”) made tardiness and truancy into “offenses” that allowed the police to stop, detain, and cite students on their way to school. Often police would do localized “sweeps” right in front of the school.
The result was that over a span of six years (2004-10), the LAPD and LASPD issued close to 55,000 tickets to students with the normal fine being $250. Not only is the fine devastating to low-income families, but parents are required to miss work to go to court with the students. In that the LAUSD is 73% Latino and 10% Black, this has been a glaring civil rights violation, traumatic to the students and devastating emotionally and financially to their families.
Four years ago the Strategy Center’s Community Rights Campaign made eliminating these tickets one of our highest priorities as part of our fight against the “pre-prisoning” of Black and Latino youth in public schools. This was not the worst of so many egregious policies, but we chose it because it contributed to the “push out” of so many students (some schools graduation rate is under 50%) and because as organizers, it was an important point of entry to challenge the larger system of the mass incarceration of Black and Brown communities.
Gaining momentum for a breakthrough
Through our on-going collaboration with ACLU of Southern California and Public Counsel—and important contributions by our coalitional allies in the LA Chapter of Dignity in School Campaign, CADRE, Youth Justice Coalition, and the Children’s Defense Fund and many others—we have begun, step by step, to unravel this tapestry of social control.
We worked with the Los Angeles Unified School Board, the LAPD, and the LASPD to get both police departments to issue truancy and day-time curfew enforcement directives, agreeing to stop ticketing students in the first hour of class, and within three blocks of the school.
The result has been a significant reduction of tickets but the law is still on the books and the police policies can change at any time. And just recently the head of the LA County Superior Juvenile Court system, Judge Michael Nash, released his own protocols for the Informal Juvenile Traffic Court, ordering referees at those courts to dismiss curfew tickets for students on their way to school and direct students to supportive services to dismiss tickets (this an important breakthrough because it is LA County wide).
Why you should join us at the two city council votes next week
Now, Councilmember Tony Cardenas has introduced this amendment to the municipal code that will eliminate the fines altogether and divert students having attendance problems from school to newly established, LA-City-funded Youth Worksource Centers across Los Angeles for counseling and other supportive service to improve their attendance.
Imagine the LAPD and LASPD agreeing to restrict their roles in policing and ticketing inner city youth! Imagine counseling and remediation services replacing arrests and ticketing as social policy! If we win, this will be a major victory for those who care about civil and human rights, educational justice and the future of the close to 700,000 youth in the LAUSD system.
Come and testify at City Hall
Please come to testify in favor of the Cardenas amendment to LAMC 45.04 (isn’t it great to be able to testify FOR something rather than our usual role in trying to stop the latest abuse?)
1) The Public Safety Committee made up of five LA City Councilmembers (LA City Councilmembers Mitch Englander, Jan Perry, Dennis Zine, Paul Krekorian and Joe Buscaino) will be discussing and voting on Monday December 13 at 10 am. What we are seeking is a strong affirmative vote in that committee to forward it on to the City Council with a “Vote Yes” recommendation.
2) Then on February 15 the entire Los Angeles City Council will vote on the amendment and you are urgently needed there.
Please contact Barbara Lott-Holland at 213.387.2800 at the Strategy Center for more info and check out our website at www.communityrightscampaign.org (click on “Truancy Ticket Campaign”).
Thank you for your support and solidarity!
The Community Rights Campaign Steering Committee:
Haewon Asfaw, Damon Azali-Rojas, Manuel Criollo, Patrisse Cullors, Tekoah Flory, Ashley Franklin, Carla Gonzalez, Lissett Lazo, Alejandra Lemus, Barbara Lott-Holland, Eric Mann, Zoe Rawson, Andrew Terranova
About Ashley Franklin
- Jan 22 2013