Get Involved to Stop the Ticketing of Our Youth and School Police Abuse
by Anonymous on Friday, May 8, 2009
Did you know it is a crime in LA to be late to school and it could cost you hundreds of dollars and a suspended license?
LAUSD students are routinely given "truancy tickets" for breaking daytime curfew (Municipal Code 45.04) when they are late to school. These tickets can cost up to $250 plus added court fees and force students to miss another day of school in court with their parent/guardian, who must also miss a day of work. Most importantly, these tardy tickets actually discourage students from going to school. We have surveyed over 1,000 students at different high schools in the city, we have countless cases of students who stay home from school if they are worried about being late because their families can't risk getting a ticket they cannot afford. LAUSD has a dreadful 50% graduation rate. 80% of California's prisoners don't have a high school diploma. Any policy that even remotely keeps our children from attending school is wrong and must be changed.
Did you know that all LAUSD high schools have at least 2 fully armed school police officers?
Of the students we surveyed, we have found dozens of examples of police abuse-excessive force and restraint, verbal abuse, frequent use of mace and pepper spray, racial profiling, handcuffs used on students' whose "crime" was being late, and more.
Our youth already face severely overcrowded and under-funded conditions in their schools. And now, discipline issues (often the result of these poor conditions) are addressed with tickets and police. What happened to counseling students, support groups and positive alternatives that will actually change behavior and support students' development? "Zero tolerance" policies have done away with those as well as the human and civil rights of our public school students, the majority of whom are Black and Latino.
This is all part of the broader trend in society to look to police and prison as the only "solution." We want to change this. We do not think it is a crime to be late nor do we think discipline issues should be handled with tickets. We do not think more police on school campuses make our children safer and by the results of the surveys we collected, students don't think so either. At minimum, there must be police accountability. Plain and simple, our schools need counselors, peer mediation, and resources that do not involve the criminal legal system, because far too many of our youth are already being snatched up by the many tentacles of the ever growing prison system.
Seeking Stories from Youth and Parents - learn more.
Know Your Rights on Truancy Tickets - learn more.