Public Counsel Efforts Lead to LAPD Commitment to Reduce Curfew Tickets, Help Students Succeed
For years, African American and Latino students have been caught up in Los Angeles police curfew sweeps. Police issued more than 47,000 tickets from 2004 to 2009 – 88% of them to African American and Latino students, who make up only 74% of Los Angeles students.
That could change when a revised LAPD protocol goes into effect on April 1. The protocol is the result of efforts by Public Counsel and other groups, including the Mayor's office and Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, to protect students' rights and help them succeed in school.
“Students belong in school, not in court. Something is wrong when African American and Latino youth are being singled out in alarming numbers by police. This send students the wrong message, and leads to court fines, lost wages for parents, and missing valuable class time that students and families can’t afford,” said Laura Faer, Education Rights Director at Public Counsel.
“It is not our intention to target our youths or to place undue burdens on their families. By making sure they attend school, we avoid any potential of our youths becoming either victims or preyed upon and encouraged to become involved in criminal activities,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
Curfew fines can cost more than $240 and require students and their families to miss additional time from school and work to go to court to resolve them.
The revisions to the plan state that LAPD ticket task forces generally will not occur during the first hour of classes, directs police to help students get back to school rather than ticketing them, and makes other changes to reduce unnecessary tickets. Public Counsel will monitor the revised procedures to ensure that students are being protected.