Police in Schools

Los Angeles Schools to Try Not Treating Children Like Criminals to See How That Goes

Remember when school discipline didn't involve court dates?


They're not out for the holidays; they all have court hearings.
Credit: Rsinner / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Los Angeles Unified School District has stumbled upon a revolutionary concept in disciplining young schoolchildren: Maybe don't treat them the way the police department treats parolees? That is to say, LAUSD is pulling back on responding to common child misbehavior with police citations. From the Los Angeles Daily News:

Starting Dec. 1, elementary and some middle school students in Los Angeles Unified will no longer receive police citations for most misbehavior.

According to the new policy, Los Angeles School Police will refrain from writing criminal citations for infractions such as fighting and writing on desks, instead turning students to school officials for campus-based punishment that is more in line with their age and nature of the violations.

"This is an important step, but it also raises concerns that there is more to be done," said Manuel Criollo, director of organizing for the nonprofit Community Rights Campaign, an L.A. group that has lobbied for the decriminalization of many school-based offenses. "Some of this should be common sense, and the next thing is to expand it in the middle schools. Thirteen- and 14-year-olds should also be covered by this."

This "new policy" smells remarkably old actually, like how schools handled discipline when those of us who are adults now attended school. Officials have finally realized that treating students like criminals discourages them from doing things like attending school (important, because that's how school funding is determined):

The directive from LAUSD Police Chief Steven Zipperman asks school-based officers to look at misbehavior of students under the age of 13 as a teaching opportunity rather than a reason to hand out citations that could discourage them from attending class altogether.

If a ticket is issued, officers should have an articulated reason for doing so, as well as the permission of a supervisor. The policy does not cover possession of contraband.

The Community Rights Campaign calculated that school police have handed out more than 4,700 citations to students under the age of 14 for the 2012-13 school year.


NEXT: Banning Doorknobs, Frat Parties, and "God Bless America" Signs?! Nanny of the Month ('13-11)

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  1. This sounds suspiciously reasonable. I’m not sure I believe that LAUSD is capable of reasonable.

  2. Starting Dec. 1, elementary and some middle school students in Los Angeles Unified will no longer receive police citations for most misbehavior.

    They were calling the police because grade school kids got into fights or wrote on desks? Words really do fail.

    1. What you said. Holy Christ, the stupid…

    2. I’m not sure. The don’t call the Police. They are the Police. Wow. I had no idea. I guess in a way it makes sense…instead of contracting out SROs, just run the whole organization in house. But this just seems so…wrong.

      1. That’s sickening.

        1. Protecting the children!

      2. If I had to guess it is the result of our obsession with litigation and race neutral results. If a middle school kid stabs another one, you should call the police. So there are cases where the police should be involved. But when you call the police based on judgement, you might end up calling the police more often because of minority students’ behavior. And we can’t have that. So the solution is make everything criminal so no one can say you exercised your judgement in a racist way.

    3. Been a long time since I was in elementary school, but I seem to remember that those students who wrote on their desks did so because they felt a since of ownership over the item, and they wanted to personalize. It’s like putting a GI Joe sticker on their lunchboxes. Eventually, after enough wood had been scratched off the desk, the school would just replace the desk anyway.

      It’s far less of a problem than the kids who stick their gum to the bottom of the desk.

      1. Do they even have desks anymore? I thought everything was done at communal tables and in group learning sessions and all that crap nowadays.

    4. If it saves just one desk…

    5. Why starting December 1?

      Why not right fucking now?

  3. I remember when the local high school had a random drug search and pat down a few years ago. The parents were outraged and they eventually had a change at principal. No random searches in the last 10 years, as far as I can remember. Why are LA city schools lagging behind Alabama county schools in terms of student civil liberties?

    1. Funny what pathetic bullies they are. When the public gets angry enough and people start losing their jobs, they back right down.

      1. Um, no they dont. Maybe that one time, but if you read Caleb’s comment, that principal was removed. Every time I see one of these stories, the administrators hide behind processes and policies and accept no personal responsibility and are not required to use any judgement. The only changes I ever see is to the policies and/or there will be “reviews” of what happened. There is never, ever any personal responsibility.

        Same goes for when a cop decides to shoot some guy for no reason other than carrying a pellet gun, which is perfectly legal in CA, by the way.

        1. Oh yes they do. When school board members start losing elections and their jobs or face the threat of such, things change.

          If you notice, this stuff usually happens in big urban school districts where no one gives a shit or in really small places where the majority of the population is nuts. In other places, where the parents are not nuts and people take an interest, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen. Why? Because the administrators know that the parents would revolt and have the time and the motivation to make their lives miserable.

          The reason why this stuff goes on is because they generally fuck with poor people and people who can’t or don’t care enough to fight back. The moment the public fights back they scurry back into their holes.

          Ad for cops, cops are bigger and more problematic bullies than school administrators for sure. But even cops are generally smart enough to know who they can fuck with and who they can’t, although that is changing and thus making it more and more likely cops are going to finally start to get theirs.

          1. What planet do you live on, and are they running shuttles there from earth yet?

            1. What ghetto do you live in? Go to a respectable white neighborhood and they don’t run dogs through the schools or arrest the little snowflakes every time they write on a desk.

              Yeah, if you are poor white trash or minority, you are going to get fucked with in this society. But upper class white people? Not a chance.

        2. Damn. I just looked up a newspaper article about that particular incident, and it says that the principal was actually “reassigned.”

          1. http://tinyurl.com/pvdysd5. See if this link works. It’s the column on the left.

            1. Damn. Apparently, you can’t easily link to Google archives.

              1. You’re like the worst poster ever.*

                *With apologies to SugarFree

        3. The way to get rid of zero tolerance BS is to stipulate that if such is implemented there will be an immediate 50% pay cut for all senior administration. After all, we’re no longer paying them to work…

  4. Are there any baby updates out there? I’ve been off the radar for a while due to work and want to know where everybody’s pregnancies stand.

    Ours is still chugging along (Banjos is BIIIIIIG), although we have a planned induction on Monday if little Liberty is not here by then.

    1. My wife is knocked up with our second, due in early July. I wasn’t sure if I was a regular enough to be taken seriously if I said anything.

      1. Congrats, man!

        But I was asking about Brett L and somebody else whose name now escapes me.

        1. Way to reinforce his insecurities about not being taken seriously there.

          1. Hehe, but I know their babies are both due like right now, as is ours.

        2. Hey sloop! Hope Banjos is well. Brett mentioned last night that his wife was just about ready to pop.

          1. She’s HUUUUUUUUGE right now. Docs have scheduled the induced c-sec for Monday if the baby doesn’t come before then. We figured Dec 2nd was an easy enough day to remember…

            1. Haha. Well good luck with the weekend and Monday if I don’t talk to you again! I was two weeks late myself and my mom was apparently quite full by the time she got her C-section. I hope Liberty isn’t painfully shoving her knees up under Banjos’ ribs like I apparently was.

              1. Well thanks. Yeah, the Ohio State-scUM game is Saturday morning and as long as I don’t miss that I’m fine. I’m really thinking she goes out until Monday though. It’s not like she’s got anything stressful that might induce labor. I’m cooking T-day dinner for her and her entire extended family. She’s just lounging around the house.

          2. Libertarian Baby Watch 2013? raises Nikki from the dead.

            1. Babies, penises, it’s all reproduction with her.


  5. With a graduation rate of 66%, LAUSD is risking sending a lot of kids out their doors without at least some type of paper, if not a diploma at least a record. Now a third of the youngsters will have nothing to show for their time there.

    1. I’d reckon there’s a lot of overlap in the graduation/criminal record rate of kids getting through the LAUSD system. And I don’t blame them as much as I would blame the happy-faced fucks running the schools and the SRO’s who just love to flex their muscles and criminalize harmless behavior.

  6. Whatever happened to making kids stay after school to clean the chalkboard?

    1. That stigmatizes them and lowers their self-esteem. Sending them to jail, on the other hand, gives them street cred, and introduces them to more experienced criminals like the police.

  7. Now if they could just get teachers to actually teach rather than relying on homework.

  8. Just expanding on what John said – schools can get sued for failing to provide enough “due process” for troublemaking youths, or for disciplining some racial groups more than others. Better to just shift the burden onto the cops and the courts.

    I’m not saying *all* the blame goes to idiotic student-rights litigation and activism, but I think it’s a causal factor.

  9. “If a ticket is issued, officers should have an articulated reason for doing so.”

    That’s some radical shit right there. Does it have to make sense or do they only have to articulate it?

    1. “I felt like it” and “FYTW” sounds articulate to me.

  10. Now seems like as good a time as any to remember the baby deer shot to death by an Oakland cop for the articulated reason “it was acting disoriented in an urban environment.”


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