DCFS Education LA County Board of Supervisors LAUSD Police Prison Women's Issues

Middle School Dropouts, Bill Passes to End Prison Sterilizations, Ferguson Protests…and More


More than 6,400 California middle-schoolers (7th and 8th graders) dropped out of school in the 2012-2013 year, more than 1,000 of which were LAUSD students. The number seems relatively low when compared with California’s more than 94,000 high school dropouts each year, so these younger kids are often overlooked and underserved. Most schools do not even have the resources to track them down once they stop showing up.

KPCC’s Sarah Butrymowicz takes a closer look at the issue in a story produced by the Hechinger Report. Here’s how it opens:

Devon Sanford’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was in the eighth grade. After barely finishing at Henry Clay Middle School in South Los Angeles, he never enrolled in high school. He spent what should have been his freshman year caring for his mother and waiting for police to show up asking why he wasn’t in school.

No one ever came.

“That was the crazy part,” he said. “Nobody called or nothing.”

Thousands of students in California public schools never make it to the ninth grade. According to state officials, 7th and 8th grade dropouts added up to more than 6,400 in the 2012-13 school year – more than 1,000 in the Los Angeles Unified School District alone.

Like Sanford, many of them just disappeared after middle school and never signed up for high school.

But their numbers are so tiny in comparison to California’s more than 94,000 high school dropouts each year that few school districts are paying attention to middle school dropouts.

One sign of the inattention: a 2009 state law mandating California education officials calculate a middle school dropout rate has gone largely ignored, although districts do publicly report the raw numbers.


Last year, the Center for Investigative Reporting found that California prison doctors performed 148 unlawful (and ethically questionable) tubal ligations (or “tube-tying”) on female inmates in violation of state law, often without proper legal consent from the women, between 2006 and 2010.

On Tuesday, the state Senate unanimously passed a bill, SB 1135, that would prohibit prisoner sterilizations as a means of birth control, except in the event of a medical emergency or treating an illness.

The bill, now headed for the governor’s desk, would also require the CDCR to provide counseling to women receiving the procedure, as well as post data online about any sterilizations performed. The bill would also provide safeguards for those who might report future misconduct.

Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign (or not sign) the bill into law.

CIR’s Corey G. Johnson has more on the bill. Here’s a clip:

The bill, passed unanimously today by the state Senate, would ban sterilizations for birth control purposes in all state prisons, county jails and other detention centers. Surgeries would be restricted to treating life-threatening medical emergencies and addressing physical ailments.

Women would receive extensive counseling, and correctional facilities performing such surgeries would be required to post data about the procedures online. The bill also protects whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting violations.

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, pushed for the bill after The Center of Investigative Reporting found more than 130 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules from 2006 to 2010. Former inmates and prisoner advocates told CIR that prison medical staff pressured women, targeting inmates deemed likely to return to prison in the future.

“It’s clear that we need to do more to make sure that forced or coerced sterilizations never again occur in our jails and prisons,” Jackson said. “Pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent violates our most basic human rights.”


NBC’s Andrew Blankstein and Tom Winter have delved into why protests over Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, spiraled out of control, while nearby protests over an unconnected fatal shooting of a young black man did not turn violent. Here’s how it opens:

The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri has led to angry protests and violent clashes with police that reached a fresh crescendo earlier this week. A second, unrelated fatal police shooting of a young black man just a few miles east on Tuesday, however, sparked protests, but no violence.

Why did events spiral out of control in Ferguson? Why did this little-known St. Louis suburb, with just 21,000 people, explode into more than a week of unrest? Part of the problem seems to have been a series of missteps by local authorities.

Experts from around the nation, including law enforcement officials, academics and civil rights attorneys, cite four factors: A poisoned relationship between a virtually all-white police force and a majority black city; heavy-handed police tactics both before and after the shooting — including a military-style response to the initial protests; and mixed messages from local authorities, some of whom attempted to focus attention on an alleged robbery by the dead teen, Michael Brown, instead of updating the public about the investigation into Brown’s death.

“Put that all together and you have a ready-made disaster,” L.A.-based civil rights attorney Connie Rice told NBC News.

The Police vs. the Public: Rice and others said most of the problems in Ferguson flowed from the almost non-existent connection between the city’s police and its residents. Detective Gabe Crocker, president of the St. Louis County Police Association, which represents many of the area’s officers, told NBC News he thought there had been early friction in Ferguson between police and protesters because there had been “no established lines of communication with community leaders.”

While two-thirds of Ferguson’s citizens are African-American, there are only three blacks on its 53-member police force. Where larger urban departments like the NYPD have used so-called “community-based policing” in recent years to build trust with a diverse public, Ferguson focused on old-fashioned top-down policing and revenue generation. That meant most contact with civilians involved traffic stops and writing tickets – an extraordinary number of tickets for traffic and other offenses. Jeff Smith, an assistant professor of politics at the New School in New York City and a former resident and legislator in St. Louis County, described Ferguson as “a constant, simmering state of tension and mistrust.” Smith said community policing could have reduced tensions, but that “it’s like (Ferguson) missed the whole phenomenon.”


Changing the Subject: Two related moves last week appeared to defuse tensions. Missouri State Police took over command of the scene from the local cops, and designated Capt. Ron Johnson, an African-American who grew up near Ferguson, as the on-site commander and liaison with the community.

But then Ferguson Police Department Chief Thomas Jackson held a press conference and released documents and surveillance video — over Justice Department objections — allegedly showing that Michael Brown had robbed a convenience store a short time before he was fatally shot. Hours later, Jackson held another press conference to announce that the white officer accused of shooting Brown was unaware of Brown’s alleged involvement in the robbery when he shot him.

Eric Rose, a crisis management expert who advises police organizations across the country, called Jackson’s revelations “foolish,” saying they served “to further incite tensions.”

“The goal should have been to calm things down,” said Rose. “Releasing that information did not serve that purpose.” In high-profile cases, he said, “You never want to go public without truly knowing all the facts and you want to have a clear strategy. In this case, the stakes of being wrong could have meant riots. And that’s exactly what happened.”


At the end of June, the LA County Board of Supervisors appointed a nine-member transition team to assist in the creation of a child welfare czar meant to oversee the implementation of child welfare reforms suggested by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection.

On Tuesday, in their first progress report to the Board of Supervisors, transition team members outlined qualifications the Office of Child Protection should have. Co-chairs Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Mitchell Katz and team member Janet Teague also asked for an executive director to keep the group focused and moving forward on reforms until the czar can be put in place.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said that the hiring of a child welfare czar was of higher importance than the hiring of an executive director, and that the BOS never approved staff for the transition team. Yaroslavsky also suggested that there might be a calculated delay on hiring a czar until he and Supe Gloria Molina are termed out of office in December.

Supe Mark Ridley-Thomas urged the board to continue implementing the Blue Ribbon Commission’s other recommendations while the search for a czar continues.

The Chronicle of Social Change’s Jeremy Loudenback has more on the issue. Here’s a clip:

In its first report to the Board of Supervisors, transition team co-chairs Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Mitchell Katz and team member Janet Teague presented the group’s work over the course of the past month. Those efforts have largely centered on clarifying the role and desired qualifications of the incoming director of the Office of Child Protection.

“The founding director of the Office of Child Protection will have the opportunity to forge a transformational process for the children of Los Angeles County and we hope you see it the same way,” Gilbert-Lurie said while addressing the Board of Supervisors at the August 19 meeting.

But the transition team remains hindered by confusion about its responsibilities beyond assisting in the search for a leader of the new office and questions about staffing support that team members say would help speed up the implementation of reforms suggested by the Blue Ribbon Commission.

“What bothers me is that we’re not seeing eye to eye on what’s the most important thing for us,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. “The most important thing is getting the Office of Child Protection person hired. The search firm in my opinion is moving very slowly, too slowly, and is responding to too many people. It’s August 19 and we’re no closer to hiring, or even searching for the office of child protection than we were a month ago.”

Transition team member Gilbert-Lurie argued that the team needs additional resources and support in the form of an executive director to accelerate efforts at implementing further recommendations.

“You have herded a group with a wide range of talents—we have doctors, Ph.D.s, judges, lawyers,” Gilbert-Lurie said. “But we need someone whose eye is on the ball of moving this forward. We believe there’s a lot of information that could be helpful in working with department heads. [We could] leverage the best of what you have in the county if there is someone available to take our ideas and help implement them when we’re working in our day jobs. We don’t believe we have access to that sort of person with that executive experience right now on a full enough time basis.”


  • So those are the four reasons for the “unrest” eh? What absolute utter nonsense . Remember the Rodney King riot? , same b/s , the police were too aggressive/ not aggressive enough, poor community relations, blah blah blah. How about some real causal factors? 1) A significant part of the black culture , a culture of failed families, gangster thuggery, never ending victimhood, and an absolute refusal to ever accept responsibility for anything. 2) lying witnesses , notice how the lies have been changing since facts have been released? What happened to Brown was shot in the back? Why hasn’t the man who with Brown been arrested for robbery? 3) A media all too willing to repeat obvious lies ( did anyone really believe the officer simply shot Brown as he put his hands up and said don’t shoot?), and play up to the spring loaded “black child murdered by white cop story”4) An entire industry devoted to black victimhood, we all know the usual race hustlers, it’s a lucrative game ,I’m sure this extortion racket has made more than one millionaire.

  • #1. Brilliant analysis, spot on. Al Sharpton will be in rare form on Monday while he gives the eulogy. This all fits into the left wing narrative, blame the White culture, stoke the flames of class warfare, blame the cops and Republicans, all in time for the November election. Good job, Whatever.

  • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4MlUtZ5F_Mk

    This person is recognized as legitimate by the media.
    This person actually had a seat at the table of a presidential primary.
    This person is given legitimacy as being a credible, unbiased spokesperson for the Brown family. This person has a “news” show on MSNBC.

    Tawana Brawley
    Duke Lacrosse
    Michael Brown

    In each of these incidents, this person accused others of heinous crimes before having any idea of any facts surrounding the incident. As soon as a black person makes an allegation that fits his narrative, he runs with it. He takes no responsibility for the results of his rhetoric. He defends his irresponsible and outrageous behavior time and time again.

    Let me say it again. This person is regarded as a credible source by the American media and his narrative is embraced wholeheartedly by them.

    You wonder why a police officer would tell the media to “Get the fuck out of here”?

  • Sharpton nor Jackson should be a distraction for those who are level headed and looking at facts not feelings.

    The negative Afro-Americans that you see in Ferguson or anywhere does not represent the majority of blacks. Right is right, Wrong is wrong.

    May God bless America, shed light on the truth and strengthen race relations with ALL AMERICANS.

  • Real Deal,
    I couldn’t agree more.
    It’s the media that gives him relevancy. They can’t wait to put him on camera and stick a mic in his face. They give him a TV show.
    Any rational, intelligent person sees Sharpton for what he is. It’s completely obvious. Yet the vast majority of the media, because of Political Correctness gone insane, not only refuses to acknowledge what he is, they go out of their way to legitimize him. An agitating racist. A man who purposely creates friction and perpetuates hate in order to profit from it.

    Not only the majority of African Americans see Sharpton for what he is, so do the cops.
    And it’s the cops who have to deal with the small percentage of people that he is able to get riled up. They have to deal with the rioters, the looting, the Molotov cocktails.
    Then the media can’t wait to criticize their response to the rioting. They either overreact or under react. There is no winning for LE when Sharpton shows up and the media pitches his circus tent for him.
    All the while you have “journalists” claiming the moral high ground, fairness and objectivity as they not only refuse to acknowledge his blatantly vile, racist hate, THEY SUPPORT HIM.
    They legitimize his narrative that racism is the impetus for every “controversial” incident that takes place between whites and blacks.
    Cops see this.
    The majority of media and “journalists” who refuse to be fair and objective because of their über political correctness and all consuming fear that they might be called a racist by Sharpton and his ilk can’t get their bullshit by us. We see Sharpton for what he is. We also see the majority of “journalists” in the media for what they are. Scared to death to stray from the narrative.
    It is what it is.
    The media sets the narrative. They buy the ink by the barrel.
    It doesn’t make them right. It most assuredly doesn’t make them noble, objective, honest or fair.
    But it does make them powerful.

  • Captivating and poisoning, he’s not the first and won’t be the last. He doesn’t have a show on MSNBC. The media isn’t rushing to put a mic in his face because his foot’s already in his mouth. He’s seldom challenged. We’ve all worked with him. He’s there, often ignored and given a wide berth by everyone who knows better. http://m.nydailynews.com/news/national/st-louis-suspended-racist-rant-viral-patroling-ferguson-mo-unrest-article-1.1913954

  • That asshole gets suspended and will probably never be able to work in LE again.
    What does Sharpton get?
    A seat at the table of a presidential primary, a show on MSNBC and counsel with the POTUS.

    Apples and unicorns my friend.

  • Be it Media, Citizen or Law Enforcement. ……..there is no room to allow racism in any format or forum. That includes the cap going on in Washington DC.

  • Booker T. Washington on page 118 of his book My Larger Education, 1911

    “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs”.


  • @ 11……..ironically your post is not a checkmate, but actually a harsh reality that applies to most nationalities. I can’t name one nationality that does not have their share of unsavory characters. Read #4

  • @13
    Re: #4, Yes. No person and no race has a monopoly on racists, race agitators or people who seek to profit by creating racial animosity.
    That was not my point in #11. My point was that people who refuse to accept the reality that Sharpton is nothing more than one of the people Mr. Washington so adequately described in his book are denying reality.
    It is checkmate for those who are naive enough to believe that the black “leader” Sharpton is seeking justice, peace, racial harmony or the truth. He is seeking money. He loses millions if everybody gets along. He needs racial controversy and a boogie man if he is to keep raking in money for his National Action Network.
    My point was that there are otherwise intelligent individuals who simply refuse to acknowledge the obvious when it comes to Sharpton. The reasons for this are both many and varied. To not see that Sharpton is nothing more than a racial agitator is to be incredibly naive. To realize it as the truth but refuse to acknowledge it due to a deep seeded fear of being labelled a racist, Uncle Tom or sellout is intellectually dishonest. To realize it as the truth yet give him praise due to that fear is cowardly.

  • Scope, ur right and Charles Blow, NEW YORK TIMES, 11/2010, agrees:

    Booker T. Washington was right that there are some who may not “want the patient to get well.” Those people exist on all sides of the debate, and they will always be there. But they’re a minority. Cast them aside. Let the rest of us start with this point of agreement: The patient is doing better but is still sick.

  • @Sachamoe says – may i offer a couple of refinements to your analysis?
    1. the election date is in November, but the voting opens much sooner than that. Apparently, there are several states holding their primary election today Tuesday August 26, 2014.
    The general election dated the first Tuesday in November actually begins with the mailing of absentee ballots. That date varies from county to county, state to state – but an average time would be beginning of October.

    2. who is the net beneficiary of the coverage from Ferguson? I would argue the national coverage of events in Ferguson brings out a suburban conservative voting base which is critical to the Republican Party winning a parity or a majority of seats in the U.S. Senate.

  • Commie Bastard,
    Because the patient is not in absolute perfect health in every aspect, that doesn’t qualify the patient as sick. Aches and pains. It’s part of life. It’s reality.
    I think you are looking at the patient much like a hypochondriac would look at themselves.
    If you’re waiting for perfection 100% of the time, get ready to be disappointed. But hey, at least you’ll have something to complain about and point to and say “See, see, I told you”.

Leave a Comment