Student Well-Being

Counseling, Not Arrests, Is Priority in New Policing Policy for Los Angeles Schools

By Lesli A. Maxwell — August 19, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The police force for the nation’s second largest school system will now send most students who get into trouble for fighting, bringing tobacco or alcohol to campus, and other minor offenses to counseling rather than issuing citations or arresting them, Los Angeles Unified school district officials will announce later today.

This new district policing policy is meant to reverse an era of zero tolerance that put using arrests and juvenile justice referrals ahead of counseling services and other interventions for struggling students. There is mounting national research that shows students who get into trouble with law enforcement are at greater risk for dropping out of school and ending up in jail or prison.

And students who end up getting arrested or referred to juvenile justice are disproportionately African-American and Latino, studies show. The same is true in Los Angeles Unified, where in 2013, nearly 95 percent of the 1,100 arrests made by the district’s police department were students of color. Black students were disproportionately arrested that year: They make up less than 10 percent of the district, but comprised 31 percent of the arrests.

Los Angeles Unified’s discipline policy was overhauled last year when district officials banned the use of out-of-school suspensions for students who are defiant. The move was hailed as a national model for school districts to follow to combat the out-of-whack rates of suspensions and expulsions of students of color.

Under the new Los Angeles Unified police department policy, most fights between students at school would have to be referred to two off-site intervention centers. And rather than ticketing and referring students to juvenile court for offenses such as trespassing, or damaging school property, police would send them to an off-site center for positive discipline interventions.

The new policy comes after years of concerns and complaints from community groups and civil rights advocates, who worked with the Los Angeles Unified police to draft and implement the reforms.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion Educators, Be Future-Ready, But Don’t Ignore the Present
Being ready for what lies ahead is important, but we also need to gain a better understanding of the here and now.
5 min read
shutterstock 226918177
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Prioritize Student Well-Being This Year
Use the Student Thriving Index to find out where your kids stand. Because you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on Supporting Teachers & Students
In this Spotlight, evaluate your district and what supports your schools offer, assess attendance policies to avoid burnout, and more
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Hospitalizations Spike Under Delta, Particularly in Low-Vaccination States
Nationwide, the number of children and teens hospitalized due to COVID-19 has ballooned nearly tenfold since midsummer, new CDC data show.
2 min read
hopital stethescope 1222194507
Aleksandr Titov/iStock/Getty