LA School PD Won’t Cite Students for Minor Offenses

Officers will drop zero-tolerance policies and instead refer students to counseling and other services.

The Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) announced on Tuesday that it will stop issuing citations for most fights that happen on campus, petty theft and other minor offenses. Instead, LASPD officers will refer students to services intended to assist them in addressing their academic and mental health issues.

“For the majority of the young people in our school system, some of it is just a mistake that can be resolved through a teachable moment, counseling, intervention and just day-to-day dialogue,” said LASPD chief Steve Zipperman in a news conference that announced the change in policy.

The move comes as more districts across the country are dropping their zero-tolerance policies in an attempt to stem what many have called the “school-to-prison” pipeline that results from overly zealous school discipline policies. The revised policy reflects research finding that responding to minor student offenses with police action does not make campuses safer and alienates struggling students, putting them at greater risk for dropping out of school.

In January, Attorney General Eric Holder announced non-binding guidelines on how students should be disciplined for minor misbehavior. The recommendations encourage schools to train school personnel in classroom management, conflict resolution and approaches to de-escalate classroom disruptions. School security and police officers should also develop relationships with students and parents, and receive training.

Two years ago, Los Angeles County Probation Department officials launched a partnership among city of Los Angeles officials, police and schools aimed at moving away from zero tolerance policies and instead referring students to services that will help them address their academic and mental health challenges.

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Tagged with: Student Discipline

About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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