Community Rights Campaign
National and local attention being turned on LA School police as data released
As data is released on school police citations, concerns grow
National attention is being turned on the Los Angeles School Police as their data on citations is released. Community Rights Campaign has done a preliminary analysis which is showing troubling trends and an apparent pattern of unnecessary and unjustified policing, resulting in discriminatory impacts for public school students and students of color.
As the Center for Public Integrity stated in their article "More than 40 percent of these court citations were to kids 14 and younger, mostly for disturbing the peace, followed by daytime curfew violations, including tardiness, and scattered tickets for cigarettes, lighters, marijuana, vandalism or having graffiti "tools," such as a Sharpie."
Sending kids through the court system for disciplinary actions that were previously handled by the schools and parents has become more complicated in Los Angeles as budget cuts are forcing the closure of the "informal" juvenile courts. Now these citations will lead to probation officers, who will be making decisions about how the citations should be handled.
National figures show black/brown students biggest targets of disciplinary action
The controversy from the data has reached the federal level. The Center of Public Integrity took the data to the Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education. The department's assistant secretary for civil rights, Russlynn Ali's office revealed the results of an examination of thousands of citations from all over the country. The findings showed an overwhelming trend in the citation of black and brown students. "Black students, 18 percent of enrollment, represented 42 percent of school-based referrals to police. Latinos, 24 percent of enrollment, were 37 percent of school-related arrests".
These numbers are even more disturbing when you consider that they are only part of the picture, they don't represent arrests or incidents that were handled by the LAPD rather than the LAUSD school police.
KPCC has analyzed the data highlighting the areas of the highest citations, and their impact on middle school students.
The Community Rights Campaign is calling for an immediate moratorium on citations.
CRC is looking for a long term goal of a 75% reduction in citations. CRC believes that school discipline should be put back into the hands of schools and parents, using counseling and other school based methods, before involving the police.
About Manuel Criollo
- Jan 22 2013