Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Los Angeles Schools End Zero Tolerance Discipline Policy

For years, students attending the Los Angeles Unified School District could earn citations from police officers for behaviors such as fighting.

The criminalization of routine offenses committed by students now appears to be coming to an end. The school system announced this week that it would stop giving citations for such offenses, and would instead focus on programs for students who misbehave.

“We are about graduation, not incarceration,” LA Superintendent John Deasy said, according to the Los Angeles Times

Civil rights leaders have accused zero tolerance policies as putting students at higher risk of dropping out and of being incarcerated.

According to Al Jazeera America, in 2011-12 about 93 percent of the 9,000 arrests in the district were involving Latino or black students. 

“The fact that it [LAUSD] made this commitment to make this change really should be a strong statement to every other district, including those that may continue to follow very heavy suspension expulsion practices,” Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, told NBC News.