Will LAUSD Regulate School Discipline & Ban “Willful Defiance?”….Far Right Lawmakers Say Let States Regulate Weed….LAPD’s Zero Tolerance,April 17th, 2013 by Celeste Fremon
MONICA GARCIA’S STUDENT BILL OF RIGHTS
On Tuesday, LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia introduced a motion that, if adopted by the board, would establish a Student Bill of Rights for school discipline.
It’s a carefully constructed motion that is supported by a range of organizations including Public Counsel, Liberty Hill, The California Endowment, Community Coalition, and a host of student groups, and it lays out a set of rules and guidelines for schools regarding the way they discipline students. Among other things, the motion mandates transparency and good record keeping in the discipline process, and a clear delineation of the role of school police on campus.
It also mandates that all students have access to what is known as School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions (SWPBIS), a strategy that has been shown to reduce suspensions, increases attendance, and even to improve academic performance.
But, if passed, the biggest change the motion would put into place is the removal from the school discipline tool kit the use of “willful defiance” as a reason for suspension or expulsion.
Here’s the wording:
Beginning Fall 2013, no student shall be suspended or expelled for a “willful defiance” (48900(k) offense
Willful defiance is a blunt instrument that youth advocates and education reformers have been working hard to get taken off the table at a state level, but the state legislature and the governor have, thus far, balked. Thus for LAUSD to lead the way would be a positive development indeed. (And perhaps it would lead the way for passage of AB 420.)
Oddly, Tuesday’s LA Times editorial that discussed Garcia’s resolution, praised most of it, but took is issue only with the removal of “willful defiance” as an option.
We believe the Times is wrong-headed in its objection.
Here’s the relevant clip (italics ours):
The resolution, which is scheduled to come before the board Tuesday, would require schools to use other measures to combat willful defiance, including setting clearer expectations and providing counseling to get at the root of bad behavior when possible, both of which have been found to be more effective than suspension. But it also would allow schools to devise additional programs that might prove even more useful, such as detention, or setting up a special classroom, with schoolwork to be done and tutors available, so that students who act up in class aren’t allowed to continue disrupting the education of other students but also don’t fall behind in their studies.
Where the resolution goes off course is with its zero tolerance for suspending defiant students under any circumstances. The district still has not figured out how to deal with the most persistently disruptive students, those who don’t respond to counseling, and it shouldn’t completely tie the schools’ hands....
We don’t agree.
As we briefly outlined here earlier this week, in 2009, Jose Huerta, the principal of Garfield High School in East LA, not only took willful defiance off the table at his school, he took the radical step of doing away suspensions and expulsions altogether (except in extreme instances where demanded by state law). The result was, after less than two years, Garfield had a much healthier, safer campus, and suspensions went from 683…down to one. A year after that, the school’s state achievement scores (API) had jumped 75 points.
There are other examples elsewhere in the country. But Garfield is the closest, and the best.
Garcia’s motion will be voted on next month. We hope those behind the Times editorial will have done some further research and thinking on the issue between then and now.
(You can read Garcia’s motion here, but scroll down to page 24, item 44.)
ARCH CONSERVATIVES URGE CONGRESS TO GET RIGHT WITH STATES’ GANJA LAWS
Tim Dickenson of Rolling Stone has the story. Here’s a clip:
There’s a new congressional push to end the federal War on Pot in the states – and it’s being spearheaded by some of the most conservative members of the Republican conference.
The “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act” introduced in the House last week would immunize anyone acting legally under state marijuana laws from federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act. Depending on the state, the legislation would cover both medical marijuana and recreational pot, and would protect not only the users of state-legal cannabis, but also the businesses that cultivate, process, distribute and sell marijuana in these states.
The legislation is in keeping with poll data released last week from Pew Research that found that 60 percent of Americans believe the feds should allow states to self-regulate when it comes to marijuana. The same poll finds that 57 percent of Republicans also favor this approach, which may explain why this bill is attracting arch-conservative backers in the House.
The three GOP co-sponsors are:
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who is best known to liberals as a villainous climate denier for theorizing that global warming is the result of “dinosaur flatulence.”
Read the rest, to find out who else—from both the (R) and (D) sides— makes up this ganja gang.
LAPD SAYS ZERO TOLERANCE RE: PERJURY
The story by KPCC reporter Erika Aguilar is a sad one, really. Two LAPD motor cops may have made an innocent mistake in the way they wrote up a DUI stop, which led to the officers perjuring themselves—even though it seems there was no reason to do it. Nothing to gain. But Chief Charlie Beck said (in so many words) that the LAPD is firm about zero tolerance for lying on police reports and perjury.
That is, obviously, as it should be. Holding the line on a principal means holding it everywhere, no excuses. Let us hope the line is consistant throughout the department.
Here’s a clip from Aguilar’s story:
The criminal trial of two Los Angeles police motorcycle cops accused of lying under oath about conducting a DUI traffic stop began this week.
Craig Allen, who was fired, and Phillip Walters, who is on suspension from the force, were charged last year with perjury and falsifying a police report.
The incident occurred in Highland Park just after midnight three years ago. LAPD traffic cops were on watch for impaired driving. A DUI task force was in full force that night.
Officer Cecilio Flores watched a driver roll through one stop sign and then another before pulling her over. He said she had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol. Flores radioed over officers Walter and Allen to assist him with the stop and then take over, a “hand-off” as described in court or a “gimme.”
The DUI stop continued its fairly routine course. The driver was given a field sobriety test, arrested and transported to jail, and Allen began the paperwork.
That last step, the written police report, is the meat of this case.
“He wrote that he was in the area when they observed and pulled over the vehicle,” said prosecutor Rosa Alarcon in her opening statement. “He didn’t mention Flores.”
Alarcon said Walters later testified during a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing regarding the woman’s driver’s license that he saw her driving that night. She added that officer Allen testified at another hearing giving specific details about how they pulled over the driver — but admitted that he hadn’t personally observed the offense after audio of the dispatch recording was played.
“The defendants made a conscious decision to lie,” Alarcon said.