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CRC turns to challenge of LA School Police citations in wake of Truancy Vote
It has been a few months since our important breakthrough to curb back on truancy ticketing in February. A lot has been going on and this update is overdue.
As always our goal was to move beyond tardy and truancy tickets, to challenge the criminal legal system and law enforcement involvement in our schools and we are now in the early stages, opening up a broader challenge to ALL forms of student ticketing and aggressive school policing.
Next Phase to Decriminalize Student Discipline in LAUSD in full gears...
For years, we have been trying to get comprehensive data from the LA School Police Dept (LASPD) on school-based tickets and citations. The momentum of our movement victory in February has finally brought that data to us, a collective ask by the Strategy Center, the LA Chapter of the Dignity In Schools Campaign, Public Counsel and ACLU.
Anaylsis of the data shows significant targeting of black students, and pervasive criminalization of students of color.
The CRC did a preliminary analysis of the data that shows:
- Over 33,800 tickets issued by LA School Police in a three year time span (2009 - 2011)
- An average of 28 citations were distributed per day;
- 40% of the citations were distributed to youth under the age of 14 years and younger; Citations increase significantly each year with 2259 issued to 12-year-olds, 4061 issued to 13-year-olds and 6234 issued to 14-year-olds
- 18% of the total citations for school-age youth were issued to Black students; only making 10.8% of LAUSD's total population;
- Over 71% of the total citations were issued to young men
A new threat: sending ticketed youth to probation department
In a twisted development, on the heels of winning the amendment to LAMC 45.04, it was announced that:
- the juvenile court that handled all school-based tickets (including truancy) would be closed due to budget cuts
- that all school-based tickets would be handled instead by LA County Probation!
Our new demands
Given the serious problems evident in the ticketing data and given the eminent closure of the Informal Juvenile Traffic Court (which would transfer adjudication powers to LA County Probation for young people's citations), Community Rights Campaign is urging for the Los Angeles Unified School District to do the following:
(1) Reduce ticketing by 75%. Given that 75% of the citations that LASPD distributed were for possession, vandalism, disturbing the peace, and truancy, which our schools already have disciplinary plans to address, a 75% minimum reduction in citations issued would be needed to reduce racial and inner city school disparities.
(2) Immediately suspend ticketing at LAUSD schools until a deeper analysis of the ticketing data has been conducted and a plan of action has been created by LAUSD to reduce ticketing with school-based alternatives.
We had a very successful rally three weeks ago that initiated a meeting with the chief and we are attempting to negotiate an agreement to reduce ticketing and to have school-based interventions instead of issuing citations or having police contact.
We are building a campaign to win our demands. Stay tuned and in the struggle!