Black, Brown, and Over-Policed in L.A. Schools
by Ashley Franklin on Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Structural Proposals to end the school-to-prison pipeline in the Los Angeles Unified School District
by:Jim Freeman, Daniel Kim, Zoe Rawson
The Community Rights Campaign of the Labor/Community Strategy Center released Black, Brown and Over-Policed in LA Schools:
Structural Proposals to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline in the Los Angeles Unified School District and to Build a National Movement to Stop the Mass Incarceration of Black and Latino Communities that analyzes the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles School Police Department's (LASPD) citation and arrest patterns for the school years of 2011-2013 through the lens of race, gender, age and neighborhood impacts.
LAUSD experienced an important ticketing decrease in 2012-13 School Year Black, Brown and Over-Policed will illustrate the progress of LAUSD and LASPD to curb ticketing, nearly a 80% decrease in Daytime Curfew citations and tickets overall have decreased 50% in the 2012-13 school year. In contrast the school year before (2011-12), LAUSD had the largest student criminalization rate among similarly large districts across the country, overshadowing even New York City and Miami Dade School Districts, both of which have their own well-documented problems with criminalization of students at school.
To read the full report:
Troubling Patterns Persist in LA School Police Ticketing Practices with Increasing Racialized Impacts
In the 2012-2013 school year, more than a full year after major reforms began taking hold:
- Latino students were more than twice as likely as white students to be ticketed
- Black students were almost 6 times as likely as a white student to be ticketed
- 47% of tickets to youth 14 and under; several as young as 9 and 10 years old
- 70% of tickets to males
- Black students were 29 times more likely than white students to be ticketed for Disturbing the Peace (often issued for school fights or perceived defiance)
- Geographic concentration of highest ticketing rates in schools in South LA and in the majority-Latino neighborhoods of the San Fernando Valley, Westlake and Boyle Heights.
These are Civil Rights and educational rights harms that obstruct the educational outcomes for students of color and require an immediate remedy.
School Playgrounds Have Become Minefields of Penal Code and Punishment.
Virtually all of these tickets and arrests were for incidents that schools traditionally handled without criminalizing youth prior to the institutional expansion of school policing-skipping class, smoking, drinking, writing on desks or walls, school fights are being funneled to the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court and Probation system. The reality is that with budget cuts and supportive school personnel positions cuts, many schools have defaulted to using school police as disciplinarians (school police officers have expressed privately and publically that this is not their role). Los Angeles School Police Department is the largest dedicated school police department in the Country, with a $52 million annual budget.
LAUSD: Continue the March Toward Educational Justice to End Punitive Discipline and Student Criminalization.
We recognize the leadership of several LAUSD officials and LASPD Chief Steve Zimmerman have been critical to the on-going community engagement to change the culture of our schools, reduce suspension and ticketing rates and ushering in important reforms to change overall school climate with the recent passage of the School Climate Bill of Rights. Nationally and locally, the task to reverse the school to jail track is a priority-from Denver, Colorado to Clayton County, Georgia to the State of Texas to Pasadena - have already implemented or adopted school police protocols to curb the criminalization of students in school.
The Community Rights Campaign looks forward in continuing to engage the LAUSD and LASPD to address the harms documented in Black, Brown and Over-Policed we also urge them to adopt the Community Rights Campaign's Equal Protection Plan which would create long-term civil rights protections and consolidate important LAUSD policy shifts to end punitive discipline and police practices and expand school-based restorative intervention practices and programs. The Equal Protection Plan is a model district-wide policy with school police protocols to limit ticketing and arrests, address racial disparities for Black and Latino students, end ticketing and arrest of elementary and middle school students, remedy high ticketing patterns in South LA, Boyle Heights and San Fernando Valley and secure funds for positive discipline and restorative justice coordinators.