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File: A student on his way to school walks past a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school, in Los Angeles, California on Feb. 13, 2009.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the nation, will announce a major change in its disciplinary policy against students who commit minor offenses today. Under the new policy, campus police will no longer issue citations for campus fights, vandalism, and most other minor infractions. Instead, student who are caught will be referred to counseling and other services.
According to the Community Strategy Center, an LA-based human rights organization that has been working with LAUSD, the law firm Public Counsel and others to usher in the change, some 33,000 citations were given to students for committing minor crimes between 2009 and 2011. Many of the students ended up in the juvenile justice system.
LAUSD also plans to hire a number of restorative justice counselors for its schools, funded by a $4 million grant from the Local Control Funding Formula.
Zoë Rawson, Legal Advocate, Community Rights Campaign, the nonprofit organization that’s worked with LAUSD and other organizations on developing the policy
Judith Kafka, Associate Professor of Educational Policy and History of Education at Baruch College and The Graduate Center, which is part of City University New York. She is also the author of “The History of ‘Zero Tolerance’ in American Public Schooling” (Palgrave Macmillan; Reprint edition, 2013)