Press ReleasesJune 29, 2012
Parents, Students, Civil Rights Groups Say LAUSD 'Leading the Way for the State' to Reduce Suspensions
LAUSD School Board Votes Unanimously to Support California Legislation on School Discipline
LOS ANGELES – A coalition of parents, students and civil rights groups representing the Dignity in Schools Campaign said California’s largest school district is “leading the way for the state” after school board members voted unanimously late Thursday, June 28, to support statewide legislation to reduce the high number of out of school suspensions. The vote of confidence from LAUSD board members added momentum to seven bills currently in the California Legislature.
The bills now in the California Legislature would address some of the worst problems that lead to out of school suspensions for more than 400,000 students every year, often to an unsupervised vacation.
The resolution was introduced by school board member Nury Martinez with support from board president Monica Garcia and board member Steve Zimmer.
“Decades of research confirms that suspensions consistently result in poor outcomes for students,” the resolution states. Yet “an increasing number of highly effective, free or low cost evidenced-based alternatives to harsh disciplinary policies and practices are available for schools in California and nationwide.” Please see attached resolution for more details.
Los Angeles Unified adopted “school-wide positive behavior support,” as district policy in 2005.
Students who are suspended or expelled are 5 times more likely to drop out and 6 times more likely to repeat a grade. Research also shows black students are 3.5 times more likely to be suspended nationwide, and student with disabilities are 2 times more likely to be suspended.
“African American boys are disproportionately being taken out of the learning environment more than any other group of students by being sent to the office, suspended, and expelled,” said Roslyn Broadnax, a South LA parent and CADRE leader whose children have attended LAUSD schools. “L.A. is leading the way for the state with this historic resolution to reform school disciplinary policies.”
“Harsh school discipline policies not only fail to ‘scare kids straight,’ they make it more likely that some of our most vulnerable students drop out and enter the juvenile justice system and, later, our adult criminal system,” said Ruth Cusick, staff attorney at Public Counsel, which is sponsoring several of the statewide bills.
“As a former LAUSD push-out student, LAUSD’s commitment to support important state bills that can keep young people in school and ensure civil rights protection for all students gives me hope for my siblings and other youth in my community which can begin undo the school to prison pipeline in LAUSD and across the state,” said Carlos “Elmo” Gomez, a 2011 graduate from Central High School in Mar Vista, and former student at Venice High School.
School leaders from Los Angeles, Oakland and Vallejo all testified in Sacramento on Wednesday, June 27, in support of the bills. Visit www.FixSchoolDiscipline.org to learn more about the state legislation.
About us: The Dignity in Schools L.A. campaign is part of a national movement and includes children’s advocacy groups ACLU of Southern California, CADRE, the Children’s Defense Fund - California, Community Rights Campaign, Public Counsel, and the Youth Justice Coalition.
Learn more about the Dignity in Schools Campaign at www.dignityinschools.org and read the report Redefining Dignity in Our Schools: www.publiccounsel.org/publications?id=0134 or www.cadre-la.org/core/our-library/