The Community Rights Campaign, an organization within the Labor Community Strategy Center, has released a new report: “Black, Brown, and Over-Policed in L.A. Schools.

The structural proposal focuses on how to end the school-to-prison pipeline in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and  build a national movement to stop the mass incarceration of Black and Latino communities.

The citation and arrest patterns of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles School Police Department’s (LASPD) for the school years of 2011-2013 are analyzed through the lens of race, gender, age and neighborhood impacts.

Despite an important ticketing decrease in the 2012-13 school year, “Black, Brown and Over-Policed in L.A. Schools” illustrates that while there was marked progress by LAUSD and LASPD to curb ticketing in the past year (nearly a 80% decrease in Daytime Curfew citations and tickets overall have decreased 50% in the 2012-13 school year) there remain troubling patterns in L.A. School Police ticketing practices that have 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.

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 being cut, many schools have defaulted to using school police as disciplinarians (school police officers have expressed privately and publicly 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.

We Call on LAUSD to 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 to continuing to engage with the LAUSD and LASPD to address the harms documented in “Black, Brown and Over-Policed in L.A. Schools.” 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.

 Read the full report: “Black, Brown, and Over-Policed in L.A. Schools