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

They're not out for the holidays; they all have court hearings.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

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

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.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/27/los-angeles-schools-to-try-not-treating

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