Los Angeles Schools Make Discipline Less Harsh

Matt Hamilton, ABC News, August 19, 2014

Students at the nation’s second largest school district will be shielded from prosecution and sent to administrators for low-level offenses as part of a sweeping reform of the way school police respond to bad behavior, Los Angeles Unified School District officials will announce Tuesday.

Rather than face arrest or citations for violations like possessing alcohol or marijuana on school property, students could be referred to off-site counseling centers or sent to the principal’s office–a shift that activists, educators and justice officials say will prevent students, especially minorities, from becoming mired in the criminal justice system.

The change marks the latest rollback to the “zero tolerance” discipline policies that were instituted in the 1970s and 1980s and intensified in the wake of the Columbine school shooting. The trend away from strict punishments, seen in school districts from Oakland, California, to Broward County, Florida, gained ground in January when the Obama administration issued reforms that emphasize conflict resolution and classroom management over arrests and citations.

The sheer size of the Los Angeles district is what makes its move groundbreaking. With more than 640,000 students at nearly 1,100 schools and charter schools, Los Angeles is among the largest school districts whose police have adopted a policy of less punitive discipline.


School board member Mónica García said the policy change was about being “appropriate”–and said offenses that are considered “category one” like brandishing a weapon or selling drugs don’t fall under the policy changes.

Under the new policy, which is in place for the current school year, if a student is caught fighting, vandalizing school property or carrying alcohol, a school police officer must follow a step-by-step formula directing students to either on- or off-campus interventions. Previously, such offenses would send a student to court or probation.

Students possessing less than an ounce of marijuana will be sent to an off-site resource center. How to deal with repeat offenses isn’t spelled out in the policy to give more latitude to officers and school officials.

“It’s not like 3 times, then you go to the court,” said Rawson, explaining that the new policy allows officers to help address the underlying needs of students.

“There’s plenty of evidence we are tough. This is about changing behavior,” García said. “We’re acknowledging we have young people who need guidance and an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.”

Scaling back officers’ role in schools will eliminate racial disparities in student arrest rates, activists and educators said.

“It really is in low-income communities of color that we’ve seen this increase in law enforcement presence,” said Ruth Cusick, an attorney with pro bono law firm Public Counsel who helped negotiate the policy changes with the district’s police force.

Of the approximately 9,000 arrests and tickets issued to students in the 2011-2012 school year, 93 percent involved black and Latino students, according to data provided by the district to the Labor/Community Strategy Center.

According to district data from the 2013-14 school year, black students accounted for about 11 percent of Los Angeles’ student population, but they made up about one-third of those suspended.

Los Angeles entered a voluntary agreement with the Department of Education in 2011 after an investigation concluded the district had carried out “inequitable and disproportionate” practices.

In recent years, the district has scaled back harsh punishments. In 2013, the district became the first in the nation to ban suspensions of defiant students. And in 2012, it began diverting truant students to counseling at off-site resource centers rather than issue tickets.



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  • Looks like the LAUSD is about to turn into one big Ferguson.

    • Diana Moon Glampers

      Pretty sure it’s been that way for quite some time.

  • MekongDelta69

    Oh yeah – THAT’LL solve everything.

    Students at the nation’s second largest school district will be shielded from prosecution and sent to administrators for low-level offenses

    Will those ‘low level offenses’ include murder, rape, robbery, beat-downs, muggings, assault against anyone in authority, and other forms of usual, everyday black crime?

    Jes’ axin’…

  • Luca

    Since ‘low-level’ offenders will now be sent to the principal, an enterprising taco, push-cart vendor could make a small fortune setting up shop right outside the principal’s office.

    • propagandaoftruth

      Ferguson High School every day.

      • Incidentally, the Ferguson-Florissant school district, which was supposed to start last Thursday, has delayed the first day numerous times because of the festivities. Now they’re going to start next Monday, though that’s the day of the official funeral and memorial for the Gentle Giant (TM), so they probably will delay it again.

        • Nancy

          Man, QD, when I was working in the hellhole of downtown Atlanta, I would PRAY for some kind of cataclysmic event that would shut down my school without interfering with my paycheck. Bomb threat, copper wire theft, arsonist fire, anything!

          Suffice it to say, the Ferguson teachers are sitting back and enjoying their unexpected paid vacation.

  • DNA Explains It All

    When the “students” figure out the new skew of punishments it will not be long until those “tier 1” offenses will need to be added to the don’t punish list too. Great fun awaits any poor white kids trapped in this zoo.

    • Pro_Whitey

      What drives me up a wall is that zero tolerance policies were put in place largely because the leftist whackjobs would sue to claim discrimination at any sign of disparate impact by administrators using discretion in punishments. This will do nothing except give administrators an out to let blacks and browns get away with pretty much everything, probably murder, too, so their discipline figures come out proportionate. Of course, that will probably still not be enough, and some white kids will have to get screwed with severe punishments for minor infractions so that it really gets into balance.

      • DNA Explains It All

        I fear you’re correct in that this will require a two pronged approach. Just letting blacks and browns rape and kill as they wish still won’t not create enough white criminals in their own right, will it?

  • Mary

    White students account for only about 10% of LA public school enrollment, yet they’re still blathering about how those poor, innocent children of color are treated. I feel sorry for those 10%!

    • LHathaway

      That’s likely the real story in all of this. Thank you for pointing that out Mary.

  • DNA Explains It All

    Jus keepin day cultcha.

  • TruthBeTold

    A fewer blacks and Hispanics are punished they will become emboldened. Whatever white kids are left will become victims and HOPEFULLY their parents will pull them out.

    Then blacks will scream that schools are more segregated than ever.

  • LHathaway

    If this keeps up, it will be everyone else in the world vs police. And even the police pander to diversity, trying to get on the side of progressives and people of color. Then it will be everyone else vs elected politicians, who also, mouth progressive platitudes and are uncertain just how much they should pander to people of color. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of conservative whites understand their is nothing left to conserve.

    Maybe this is just a school system trying to shield students from the criminal justice system (and justice)? Or maybe this is the beginning stages of a revolution that would likely be welcome by many of us. .

  • Adolf Verloc

    Clearly LA needs more “alternative schools,” AKA “houses of correction.”

  • dd121

    Affirmative Action for crime. Great.

    • me

      “Affirmative Action” is Yiddish for White genocide.

  • We mustn’t do anything to hurt the future career chances of these wonderful children who will undoubtedly grow up to be astronauts, heart surgeons, senators, and even president. A friendly chat with a concerned, caring school counselor will fix their problems.

    Haven’t you ever seen “To Sir, with Love?” All that love oozing from a Sidney Poitier type mentor and every kid will turn out to be a productive member of society. It must be true because it always works in the movies.

    • me

      Have you seen “The Blackboard Jungle”? How about “The Lord Of The Flies”? How about “Children Of The Corn”? EVIL WHITE CHILDREN™, as depicted in Hollyweird, the non-goy Ministry of Propaganda. Great Britain, the USA, and Western Europe will soon realize that they shouldn’t have allowed the non-goy to ever open the doors of their sovereign nations to these ‘diverse’ hoards….

  • IstvanIN

    When I was in school there were no “low level offenders”, we just some bad kids. My how times have changed.

    • Rhialto

      And (in my school system) when they reached the ripe old age of 16, they became ex-students.

    • Nancy

      Also…back in the day when a kid got a bad grade, the parents screamed at the kid.

      Today, a kid gets a bad grade…and the parents scream at the teacher.

      I’m sure the LA school system is just being flooded with dozens of teacher applications now. /sarc/

  • Leon NJ

    Of course they might be sent to the principal’s office. He wants to smoke what they got!

  • Paleoconn

    Detention = racism

  • me

    School board member and racist peon Monica Garcia knows that her ‘wetback’ hermanos’ can’t lay off the blunts and the stabby fights, so she’s all for letting the ‘youths’ run wild in the schools. It used to be about education, knowledge, self-discipline, and improving yourself. Now, it’s about racial dominance, political power, money grabbing, and destroying White America. ‘Diversity’ is the gift from the Yids that keeps on giving….

  • willbest

    Its been some time since CA had a really good race story a la Ferguson, its probably doing this so it can facilitate one.

  • “Rather than face arrest or citations for violations like possessing alcohol or marijuana on school property, students could be referred to off-site counseling centers or sent to the principal’s office–a shift that activists, educators and justice officials say will prevent students, especially minorities, from becoming mired in the criminal justice system.”

    Guess what else would keep them from becoming mired in the verbal justice system?… Oh, Yes! Not committing crime!

    But alas, throughout the course of their existence, they’ve made it quite clear that they’re simply too stupid to get such a simple concept.

  • disqus_Xz3UA6obwj

    Just one more way the minorities degrade our civilization.

  • none of your business

    Translation: More affirmative action jobs for “intervention specialists” and better paid “intervention coordinators” to say nothing of the well paid contracts to affirmative action morons to teach the intervention specialists how to listen to screeching OFEs.

  • [Guest]

    If the principles used to justify this change in policy are sound, the all-mighty activists, educators, and justice officials should fight against the enforcement of laws not only for low-level offenses but for high-level offenses as well.

    Don’t want “racial disparities in arrest rates” or for minorities to become “mired in the criminal justice system”?

    Repeal all laws against violent crime and/or cease to enforce them.