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The Power of Now
Friday, April 12, 2013
The New York Times featured work by LDF and other civil rights and youth advocates who are pushing back against proposals to increase police presence in schools. The article mentions a federal civil rights complaint filed by LDF and the National Center for Youth Law on behalf of our clients Texas Appleseed and the Brazos County branch of the N.A.A.C.P. challenging a Texas school district’s use of law enforcement officers to issue criminal misdemeanor tickets to students for minor misbehavior such as “disruption of class” and using cuss words. These categories accounted for nearly half of all misdemeanor tickets issued and African-American students are four times more likely than all other students to receive a ticket for these types of categories.
The article also notes an important issue brief regarding the harms of school-based policing, co-authored by LDF, Advancement Project, the Dignity in Schools Campaign and the Alliance for Educational Justice. The issue brief explains how police too often function as the "disciplinary arm" of schools and sets forth a number of recommendations for alternatives to police presence, all of which are backed by a wealth of research.
The latest news coverage comes at a critical moment when federal policymakers are considering proposals on gun control and school safety. LDF and the Dignity in Schools Campaign have led a successful national coalition urging federal policymakers to reject proposals that would place more police officers in schools. Those types of proposals would run counter to the weight of research and would also undermine the federal government's own efforts to dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline. For example, LDF recently joined the U.S. Department of Justice in filing an historic consent decree in the long-standing Meridian (MS) school desegregation case. In addition to other components, the consent decree prohibits police involvement in matters that can be handled by school staff.
You can read the full NY Times article here.