One year after the passing of the School Climate Bill of Rights. Let’s break the LAUSD School to Jail Track.

One year after the passing of the School Climate Bill of Rights. Let's break the LAUSD School to Jail Track. No Child Left Behind...Bars! Educate to End the Incarceration Rate.

SCBR_web.jpgThe Community Rights Campaign of the Labor/Community Strategy Center is very proud of our community alliance with the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition and Dignity in Schools Campaign - Los Angeles as we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the passing of the School Climate Bill of Rights (SCBR) on May 14th. The School Climate Bill of Rights is a landmark package of changes that reverses "zero tolerance" policies which have led to the systematic punishment of Black youth in particular. The Bill of Rights includes:

  •  Ending "Willfull Defiance" suspensions which have specifically targeted black students;
  •  Implementation of Restorative Justice programs to begin by 2015;
  •  A plan for district-wide implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a proven alternative to "zero tolerance" that was adopted in 2007 but never widely implemented;
  •  New policy principles to redefine and limit the role of the police in school discipline;
  •  Full text of the resolution as passed is available here.

Over this past year, Community Rights Campaign with our partners have been moving forward

We, along with our allies, have been making a meaningful push for the implementation of the SCBR through continued engagement with the LAUSD to ensure that the rights of students and parents can be maximized under the School Climate Bill of Rights. In addition, the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition has been moving on the hard work to educate youth leaders, students, teachers and parents to understand and exercise their rights at their local schools to ensure their schools complies with the SCBR.

One specific focus that we have been unified at Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition has been to maximize the implementation of the School Climate Bill of Rights by securing resources through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to support its roll-out. CRC over the past six months has been concentrating on three major fronts of struggle toward this goal with the campaign slogan "No Child Left Behind...Bars! LAUSD, Educate to End the Incarceration Rate." We have been urging the LAUSD leadership to support our platform that includes:

1) Adoption of the Equal Protection Plan,

2) Fully Fund and Implement the School Climate Bill of Rights

3) Prioritize LCFF/LCAP Funds for Educational Justice, Restorative Justice, Not School Police.

The Equal Protection Plan is a Community Rights Campaign draft model policy to limit ticketing and arrests for all Los Angeles Unified School District students. It would ensure that LAUSD and Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) create district-wide guidelines to limit school police role in school discipline, end ticketing and arrests of elementary and middle school students. This will help ensure that LAUSD reverse high ticketing and arrest patterns in South LA, Boyle Heights and San Fernando Valley. It would prioritize school based alternatives and intervention (positive discipline and restorative justice) not court involvement. The SCBR reinforces the need for new school police guidelines to limit their role in school discipline, while tickets have been going down at LAUSD, the Equal Protection Plan would ensure long-term and structural guidelines and protections.

The School Climate Bill of Rights passed in May 2013 under the leadership of the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition. We need to ensure that Los Angeles Unified School District fully funds and implements the Bill of Rights to support schools, school staff and students to reverse the school-to-jail-track in our schools. Initially LAUSD had only slated $600,000 for restorative justice for the upcoming 2014-15 school year to hire five Restorative Justice trainers; this will not be enough for the over 800 LAUSD schools. By the 2015 school year, LAUSD is required to provide training and resources for schools that high suspension, ticketing and arrest rates and we need action now! We need to make sure that students and schools are supported to build their capacity to address conflict, trauma, and misbehavior and get to the root causes as we move away from zero-tolerance.

We don't want under-funded interventions that creates divides among critical players in the school environment, such as, teachers and administrators feeling a lack of training and lack resources for alternatives, parents feeling like students are not being held accountable, or having a new underground suspension pipeline and students not actually getting proper support or skills when they are struggling in class or having conflict with others in the school setting.

Prioritize Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the Local Control Accountability Plan for Educational Justice

The LCFF prioritizes funding positive school discipline and restorative justice, guidance and PSA counselors, social workers, school psychologists, librarians, restorative justice coordinators and other school support staff. LAUSD is debating how to use $380 million in LCFF funds this upcoming year; we believe that this funding for educational equality should not be used for school police.For the past five years, LAUSD has cut thousands of critical school staff and yet the LASPD budget has grown with a budget of over $60 million a year. In many of our schools there is more security, school police, school probation officers than counselors.

Educational equality cannot equate with having more police in schools. Civil rights can't equate with police. While some say that school police can play an important supportive mentor role, the reality is that we need and want that role to be filled by counselors and social workers who are trained to support students and families. Lastly, we need to make sure that money from LCFF and the Local Control Accountability Plan serves the communities that have the most profound social challenges and reach the greatest number of English learners, foster care youth and the profoundly poor.