Pre-Prison Proposal Stopped!
by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Community Rights Campaign Stops “Truancy” Tickets on School Grounds
We are excited to announce that LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan has withdrawn her motion to deputize police officers to give $250 "truancy" tickets to students while on school grounds! The motion was an attempt to expand the Los Angeles Municipal Code 45.04, popularly known as the "truancy" law, which cites students $250 for being late or truant from school.
This decision followed a successful action on King and Vermont led by our Community Rights Taking Action students. These students filled the corners organizing people to sign petitions and make phone calls to Ms. Galatzan's office. The event generated good media coverage and gained the support of many other LAUSD Board Members.
And most importantly, our defeat of the Galatzan proposal broke open a discussion about the negative impacts of truancy tickets in general. We were invited to present at the LAUSD Board Meetingon October 20th and are in conversation with several Board members who seem very open to working with us to win alternatives to tickets. We are on the offense, but there is still much work to do and we need you to get involved!
Three Reasons Why We Need to STOP Truancy Tickets:
- Truancy tickets are a suppression strategy assuming youth as "delinquents"; it was never a tool to keep students in school. These tickets are a civil rights violation that cause irreparable harm to students and communities of color. These tickets do not support the educational needs of students and instead criminalize Black and Brown students under the pretext of "stopping crime." Some say truancy and tardy tickets are "tough love" yet where is the "tough love" for schools, a City, a State or a Country for failing students - you know something's wrong when California is # 1 in prison spending and #47 for education spending!
- While LAPD Chief Bratton has left town, his "Broken Windows Theory" remains. The premise is that you must "crack down on the small things" to prevent the "big crimes" throwing the "innocent until proven guilty" and human rights out the door. The LA Community Action Network has documented that in downtown, the LAPD Safer City Initiative, touted as the most advanced (read: dangerous) "broken window" experiment, has arrested or ticked over 12,000 mostly Black and homeless residents for petty "violations" such as littering, jaywalking, or sleeping on the streets. "Truancy tickets" are another product of "broken window" policing, with over 15,000 tickets given out to students in LA in a given year- it means students can be stopped, questioned and even handcuffed for coming to school late, ultimately profiling our young people to prisons, not Princeton's
- More handcuffs and arrests leads to more push outs! Some LAUSD schools lose 50% of their student body. We have meet scores of teachers, administrators and even some school police who are saying these tickets are pushing students out. Civil rights and education access must trump penal codes and courts appearances! Studies show that being arrested in school nearly doubles the odds of dropping out and if coupled with a court appearance, nearly quadruples the odds! What we really need as solutions to tardiness and truancy are mental health services, peer mentoring, academic support and other resources to support students and their families.
What you can do to help:
Help Collect STORIES of truancy tickets and police abuse!
Call us (213) 387-2800 click “Pre-Prison Diaries”
Community Rights Meeting: Saturday, Dec 5th, 11:00am at
2936 W. 8th Street (just east of Vermont)