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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


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.)


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.


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.

Posted in DEA, Education, LAPD, LAUSD, Restorative Justice, School to Prison Pipeline, War on Drugs, Youth at Risk, Zero Tolerance and School Discipline | 7 Comments »

7 Responses

  1. Cognistator Says:

    Re: The LAPD case. Was the arrestee in fact drunk? Unless things have changed drastically over the years DUI arrests require a test–blood, breath, or urine–to determine alcoholic content in the blood. If the arrestee was in fact drunk then what’s the problem?

    Sounds more like, for reasons unknown, the LAPD is out to get these two officers and is using this incident to do that.

  2. CrackerJack Says:

    Who is the blockhead that made this a perjury case? It looks like the city of Los Angeles will being paying into these officer’s lotto fund. An error on a report does not equal perjury or falsifying a police report.

  3. Yeah Right Says:

    Regarding the snippet about “Defiance”. Celeste, have you ever been in a classroom? Been a teacher? Had a kid who does every thing in their power to be rude, despite you trying to fight the good fight, and be nice, offer incentives, take different approaches, all the while the parent is nowhere to be found? ANYONE working with kids knows there are a few, and sometimes MANY who will just as soon as tell you to F-off, and will do exactly what they what. You do realize one thing kids do, especially at the middle school and HS level is simply IGNORE YOU. Even if you are polite, or “cool with them”, they simply walk away and do whatever the hell they please. SO you tell me, with a classroom of anywhere from 40- 65 kids, just WHAT are you supposed to do to “reach out to this troubled” youngster, when getting him away from the rest of the group seems to be the best option.

    Some teachers are better than others, but some children are just lost, they are thugs, and it won’t matter what you do, the result will be you stressed out, wanting to beat their ass, and of course the smart kids nowadays will say everything they can to make you lose your cool, just they can go home and tell mommy “Teacher yelled at me today”, and then that SAME PARENT who was in hiding during all those calls to come in conference to work with their “troubled youngster” suddenly pretends to be momma bear and jumps down the throat of staff and admin.

    Not to mention the super of the district will NEVER have the backs of teachers, and restoring ORDER AND RESPECT in the classroom, because he’s too fearful of the backlash against him from loser parents who will all of a sudden take an interest in their child’s life. And of course, our super wants to stay in his position for as long as possible, with a minimum of fuss, so that he may advance his career aspirations.

    I have worked at a Middle school in the San Fernando Valley for 5 years. I speak to many teachers with 25-30 years on, and some with no experience and everything in between. Old teachers, young teachers, all the mean ones, and all the “cool ones” that many students take to. I’ve spoken to Admin. Alot. I hear counselors talk about everything, even when they don’t know it (or simply don’t care). I have many friends who are just getting into teaching at various levels in various places, and I come from a family with many teachers. It is not just my SOLE OPINION, it is that of MANY.

    I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to have any of these advocates for lowering suspensions stuck in a classroom and be asked to work miracles day after day, year after year.

    Oh and one more thing, just because a school doesn’t record suspensions, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. They are IN HOUSE suspended, hidden away from the general population of the school, and most generally not doing any work (in case you think that because they are in school, they are still working on their education). They are given a simple worksheet, and they do it or not, it’s just a babysitting tactic because having them watch TV would be just too laughable. This is done at my school and many others, that’s how principals keeps their suspension numbers down. Didn’t you KNOW THIS?

    The Principal of Garfield High School is not some leading man of a feelgood Hollywood movie where he magically turned things around. He most likely cooked the books. Cynical, I know, but that kind of change doesn’t happen over night, or in less than calendar year. He obviously found VERY creative ways to minimize his numbers, while propping himself up as a leader in some revolution, when really, to anyone who knows how things work on THE INSIDE, we see what he did a mile away, in such a short time frame, and with no radical change to his student demographics. Why don’t you ask, in depth, the TEACHERS of Garfield High School what they think and how their experience has been? I’m sure the troops have a much different story to tell then the General who is touting success beyond belief.

    I have witnessed so much disrespect and twisting of “the system” against teachers, really good decent human beings some of them are, and it sickens me. Celeste why don’t look at this INJUSTICE to see how the common man or woman constantly twists the system to their favor because every gov. entity…almost every entity period is so concerned with Politically Correct responses, always playing to the lowest common denominator.

    In public school here in LAUSD kids get a FREE education, FREE lunch and breakfast, FREE after school programs (babysitting to parents, but actual structured programs to people who know better) and then parents have the nerve to defend their kid when the hooch of a young lady consistently wears clothes where her ass is almost showing. Mom shows up with a similar pair of shorts…because the mom and daughter share clothes. Or the parent who insists their child never does wrong, only to (thankfully) catch them on our camera system, beating the life out of a smaller student for reasons that only make sense to lower life forms.

    You want to write about something, write about why so many parents are INEPT at raising decent kids.

    I suppose there might be some who read this, and may say “Well if you hate it so much, just quit, no one is forcing you to work there”.

    I have a better idea…


    And if not, they lose the opportunity to be in a classroom getting a FREE EDUCATION, something many other young people, especially young ladies in the middle east, would risk their lives for, and have, with “secret schools” and the like. It is ALSO very interesting how there is a large contingent of students who are here illegally, and have the nerve to give teachers in this country a hard time, pissing away an opportunity many in other parts of the world would cherish, all the while enjoying their free lunch, free breakfast, free after school programs, etc.

    If the darn kid wasn’t such a little jerk every single day of his life, then we wouldn’t have the “defiance” issue we have now. If they were taught the value of education, and of respect for authority and adults, and of getting something FOR FREE and to be grateful for it, then we wouldn’t have to suspend them.

    Then we can simply teach, and who knows how much better things would be for all in this country.

    But what do I know, I’m just a teacher.

  4. Just another poster Says:

    TO Yeah right

    “You want to write about something, write about why so many parents are INEPT at raising decent kids.

    I have been following this blog for quite some time… in my humble opinion, the author appears to shift blame at people who are here to solve the problem, not the problem itself.”

  5. Cognistator Says:

    Back to the LAPD case. The two officers have been acquitted in the perjury case. Details,0,1218840.story

    These officers should never have been submitted to this ordeal by the LAPD

  6. Anon Says:

    @Yeah Right

    You seem nice. I’m sure you are a great teacher.

  7. Yeah Right Says:


    Teachers are human beings, and they too have feelings and frustrations. Obiously we don’t walk into the classroom first thing the morning and say “Sit down and shut up”. You obviously took my comment, but not the context that it was given in, and had a zinger of a line there. Very Clever. But, I notice you had nothing to say about what I said, nothing to present a counterpoint with, and certainly no first hand experience about what I’m talking about, just a comment about ME. Not too good at critical thinking, might wanna brush up that, Anon.

    We teachers remain professional and respectful, until the BS is so high it’s touching the ceiling, then we call them (the kids) on their nonsense, complaints be damned about how we hurt some parent’s little angel’s feelings.

    Don’t even try that snarky comment until you’ve tried your own recipe to teach a room full of rowdy middle school kids who have no respect for you, make fun of you for no reason, disrupt others, curse you out, where admin refuses to take your refferal for them (so it doesn’t bloat their numbers) and of course the parent is no where to be found.

    And really, if we are to teach kids, the supposed Future of Tommorrow….is asking them to sit down and shut up so they can recieve their FREE education, ya know to better them as adults and help society as a whole…is that asking to much. Is it, Anon? Shut up, stop wandering around the room, laughing, yelling, eating, texting, and just pay attention? And DO YOUR WORK, READ THE BOOK, FOLLOW THE LESSON, DON’T DEFACE THE DESK, ETC…IS that TOO MUCH to ask????

    Maybe before you read all this YOU should have shut up and sat down, ya know, because without that extra focus, I think you just might miss the point

    Not sure if you saw what I did there, kinda made you look stupid. Your snarky comment reminds me of some of my brain dead students. Such wit!

    Just because I’m a teacher doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to get angry or frustrated about people, kids and adults, (yourself as GREAT example) that can sometimes be stupid fools with no understanding of how to think or conduct themselves on planet earth, much less a classroom, or in a even in response to a comment that obviously was so over their head they could barely eek out a sacrastic uninformed response.

    Now with that said, you just go and have the best day ever, and please if haven’t yet, don’t have kids of your own ;)

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