Community Rights Campaign
Media reacts as LAUSD data shows black, brown students heavily ticketed
CRC holds rally to release new LASPD data
Building off the momentum of our victory in amending Municipal Code 45.04 and after four years of requests from the Community Rights Campaign (CRC), along with allies from the LA Chapter of the Dignity In Schools Campaign, Public Counsel and ACLU, the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) has finally released data for citations issued to students from 2009-2011.
The CRC held a rally on May 3, 2012 on the corner of King and Vermont, to reveal this new data obtained from LASPD. The data makes it clear that educational racism is in full effect, sending students of color down a court and jail track, rather than a pathway to graduation and college.
The Community Rights Campaign is demanding that the Los Angeles Unified School District intervene with this destructive system and put a moratorium on citations until the data can be reviewed and a plan is in place to decrease these discriminatory impacts. We are also demanding a minimum decrease of citations by 75%.
KTLA news, while acknowledging that LAUSD has the largest police force in the country, also quoted data showing that there is a disproportionate amount of tickets distributed to black and Latino students, with 40% of them going to students under the age of 14. KTLA quoted Manual Arts Taking Action student Don Torres saying, "I've seen people get tickets for possession of a Sharpie".
Manuel Criollo, the lead organizer of the Community Rights Campaign, was quoted by KPCC stating, "Using the court system to address discipline issues like fighting and vandalism damages young students and their educational growth. There have been national studies that show a young person who has contact with law enforcement on campus is almost twice as likely to leave school. Those students who have to go to court to deal with a ticket or an arrest are four times as likely to leave school."
Zoe Rawson , an advocate with the Community Rights Campaign was also quoted explaining, "When youth transition into middle school, there's a major increase in the frequency of which the citations are given out. And they are primarily for the types of behavior that schools have disciplinary methods and interventions that should be in place to keep them in school and keep them out of the criminal justice system."
The Huffington Post reported, "Michael Nash, presiding judge of Los Angeles County's juvenile courts, has told the Center he prefers more of an emphasis on counseling -- rather than sending kids to court -- to try to prevent low-level fisticuffs and other misbehavior."
Data becomes more urgent as juvenile traffic courts close
Due to budget cuts, the Informal Juvenile Traffic Courts (IJFC) are closing down. The IJFC are the courts that have been dealing with these citations for minor infractions. With the IJFC, students were being sent to what were called "referees" to handle their tickets rather than actual judges and officers. Students were also able to bring counsel, contest citations, and the severest penalty was a fine and hold on a youth's driver's license.
Increasing the severity of the problem, with the closure of the courts, students will now be sent to the probation and delinquency court system where a probation officer will now oversee these citations. In short, this means students will be sent to a higher court with higher consequences for the same minor infractions.
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