Juvenile Justice School to Prison Pipeline Uncategorized Zero Tolerance and School Discipline

Stockton Unified Is Over-Policing Schools, Says ACLU

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

The Stockton Unified School District has a serious problem with over-policing students, according to a new report from the ACLU of Northern California.

Between July 2012 and November 2016, the district’s dedicated police department arrested students at least 1,946 times. Of those nearly 2,000 arrests, 53% were for low-level offenses like truancy, violating curfew, possessing marijuana, and “disturbing the peace.”

In California, kids can get arrested for disturbing the peace by fighting with other kids, just threatening to fight, or even being unruly.

The data revealed that Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) police arrested students with disabilities 318 times during those years. Black students and black students with disabilities were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be arrested or cited by school cops.

Black kids were over three times more likely than any other student group to be arrested or cited for disturbing the peace, which was the most common charge, with 652 arrests. Black students were also two times more likely than white students to be arrested for marijuana possession, the second most common charge.

“When the effects of implicit bias and stereotyping are magnified by the decision to station police in schools, students suffer,” said Linnea Nelson, Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.

According to the ACLU data, during the 2016-2017 school year, the district spent $3 million in state funds—earmarked for english learners, low-income students, and foster youth—on school police.

The problem isn’t unique to Stockton. In a series on school discipline for the Center for Public Integrity and KQED, reporter Susan Ferriss took an in-depth look at the criminalization of kids in San Bernardino’s schools.

Within the San Bernardino City Unified School District, which has its own dedicated police department with 54 campus security officers, school cops made more than 30,000 arrests of minors between 2005 and 2014. Just 9% of those arrests were for alleged felony offenses. The rest were for minor offenses.

In contrast, back in 2014, the San Francisco Unified School District created a new system of graduated steps for school police to take before a student can be arrested. The agreement also required school officers to take at least one day of free training in more effective restorative justice-focused methods of handling disruptive kids.

Elsewhere in California and across the nation, municipalities are slowly starting to rethink their reliance on law enforcement in schools. Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to renew its contract with the LA County Sheriff’s Department to police the county’s public schools. In addition to the contract renewal, the supervisors called on the sheriff’s department to look into providing more training for school cops on subjects such as childhood trauma and adolescent development. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl voted against having “armed, uniformed law enforcement officers” at schools.

“The practice of permanently assigning police officers to school campuses does not make kids safer, nor does it help them grow and thrive,” the ACLU’s Linnea Nelson said. “The vast majority of youthful misbehavior can and should be addressed by counselors and school officials who don’t look at discipline through the lens of criminality.”

The report recommends that funding currently allocated to SUSD’s school police by redirected to hire restorative justice coordinators, counselors, and more teachers and tutors. Additionally, the ACLU says SUSD should require training for all school officers to combat implicit bias and improve “cultural competence.”

School police should not stop and search or question kids for behavior “related to school activity, on school grounds, during school hours, or during school-related events,” according to the report. In cases where cops must question, the district should require a warrant backed by probable cause that the student posed a threat to the safety of others. School police should not arrest students on campus unless a warrant is involved, or if the student presents an immediate threat to those on campus.

The report also recommends that school cops never use physical force on students unless the student is posing immediate danger.

The district should also ensure that students’ parents are notified immediately when kids are questioned, restrained, placed in isolation, searched, or arrested.

The report calls on SUSD collect and publicly share data on interactions between cops and students, including data regarding students’ race, gender, disability status, and more.

Finally, SUSD should create an oversight committee to watch the department. The committee should have the ability to review the applications of prospective school officers, carry out officer evaluations, look into complaints against the cops, and review collected data.


  • The cluelessness of this article is amazing. I know the ACLU is supposed to be idealistic, but that NorCal chapter has uncoupled from reality. Mass school shootings happen on campus during school hours do they not?,why even print this crap? Really awful

  • Yet another example of the ACLU demonizing law enforcement and politicians looking to make a “quick vote” by jumping on the “police are evil” band wagon. There is little emohadus placed on the fact that the majority of these student police interactions are due to the “children” doing something unlawful or unruly in the first place. To imply that law enforcement is being heavy handed when dealing with “minor crimes” which I assume are referring misdemeanors and infractions is ludicrous.

    If the schools and counselors could have handled these matters effectively in the first place, I’m sure police would gladly not intervene. I guess people’s memories are fading with respect to the school shootings and violence on school campus that lead to police being put in place in the first place. The ACLU is trying to paint schools as some idealic 1950’s Norman Rockwell painting with the police as an occupying force.

    Now the proposal is to give police more training, of course, in dealing with a far bigger social problem that starts in the home. No mention of holding parents accountable for their kids misbehavior but plenty of blame to put on the police. Just classic.

    It’s amazing how the ACLU and the like can expect the police to be child welfare workers, mental health counselors and child psychologist in addition to law enforcers. Why doesn’t the ACLU and Shelia Kuel step off Mount Olympus, put some actual sweat equity in and do some of the heavy lifting versus just critiquing. Nobody ever expects these folks to add more to their plate and do more as they are nothing more than opportunistic scavengers looking for their next fix.

  • Major Kong and Conspiracy are right. Its a scary world out there. School shootings are happening every day…..if you watch Fox or Alex Jones. In the alternative universe of alternative facts, these gentlemen as geniuses, citing facts from the Journal of Extraction of Facts from the Ass. Perhaps the deadliest school shooting was Sandy Hook, and that was a mentally ill adult that got his hands on a gun, which I am sure you think should not be controlled. And, you may be thinking about Columbine, too, but school police would have been useless there. What you have in mind, I am sure, is keeping these little black and brown “predators” in line because you, being being a learned psychologist, know they will become adult black and brown criminals. In Columbine they were white kids doing the shooting. Let me remind you , gentlemen, the odds are greater of being killed by a cop than of being killed in a school shooting. And, let me remind you, the odds are greater of being killed by cop than by a terrorist. And, that is being killed by cop when unarmed. Just to drive the point home, the odds are greater of that portly cop in the posting a few days ago when the mentally ill man was shot 31 times by the County’s finest of dying by choking on a donut than getting killed in a school shooting or by a terrorist. This is no joke. So, please stop your fear mongering and using use your feigned “concern” to hide your racist tendencies. I know its easy to pull shit out of your ass, but at least google some of the crap you post. Do not be so intellectually lazy. Now, if you give me your names, I will send the ACLU a donation in your name and you can take the deduction.

  • Cf well at least you’re laying off using the “n” word, but you’re back to the ass fixation. You really need to lay off huffing the leaded gas it’s giving you a crazy race obsession. Columbine proves the point dummy, armed students during school hours massacre defenceless fellow students. The NorCal ACLU (and apparently you) stand against preventing that sort of thing . Pretty stupid

  • CF….. You really need to knock that chip off of your shoulder. It’s so counterproductive. We don’t care if a juvenile is purple, if they’re fighting or unruly we are responsible to take action.

    Why don’t you understand that 99% of the time we take any action it’s because we were called there?? I think you’re part of the population that just doesn’t want to be policed. Give that 2 weeks and you, and people like you, will be under siege from predators of every race and will be begging for us to come to your rescue.

    You CF are the racist by the way.

  • CF. There you go again…little child…throwing a temper tantrum, using profanity and of course, spewing your deep seated racist ideology. It’s very telling that everytime you try and make a point, you interject race as you referred to the “black and brown predators and criminals”. That shows your true colors as your view of these groups is clearly one through the lens of racial prejudice and stereotype.

    No one has to even mention race in the conversation as you can be relied on in clockwork fading to fill in the blanks with your own hate field vitriolic rant. Note to all minorities, beware of individuals who always interject race into an argument, liberally use the “n” word, say things like “I have a black friend” and always say “I’m not a racist”…..they are in fact the worst type of Bigot and Racist.

    Crazy on CF…you are true to form. Idiot.

    • Good point Conspiracy. Be also aware of those who lie by saying that they’ve never used the N word, especially in Law Enforcement. Mark Furhman can attest to that.
      FYI….the N word is more universal than saying “I love you”. Still doesn’t make it right.

  • CF > Funny how they flip the script on you to knight you as a racist. Many are not use to being confronted with reality. Granted that you have doughnut comedy in your posts but whatever.
    The next thing you know, they will label a blog terrorist with a made-up Arabic name.

  • Cf, Socrates ,still laughing ,throw in tt bad boy, jack Dawson, and a couple others, not fooling anyone you know. Maybe Celeste but she’s kinda silly, but I guess you know that ,whatever.

  • Ok, lets take a look at this article and see if we can find the real bias:

    “Research has found that students who are arrested are more likely to fall behind in classes, drop out of school and wind up involved in the criminal justice system.” — Does the research also show that those same students who are arrested are less likely to continue to harm other students because of their arrest in cases where drugs, knifes, guns, and significant batteries occurred? Does it take in to account that the victims of these crimes are more likely to fall behind without law enforcement intervention?

    “What it comes down to for us is implicit bias, which is a well documented phenomenon,” Nelson said. “Adults have unconscious bias that causes unfair decisions, such as giving the benefit of the doubt to a white student while punishing a black student.” — Sounds like heavy speculation without proof of fact.

    “Members of the Stockton Education Equity Coalition also raised concerns about the nearly $3 million spent by the district in 2016-17 on the school police department.” — So the SEEC doesn’t believe the police department should be properly equipped, trained, and staffed? Sounds a lot like they care very little about the safety of the students and staff who are not committing crimes.

    “Stockton Unified is one of more than 20 school districts in California that runs its own police department and funds police from its own budget. The Stockton Unified Police Department employs 33 officers to patrol schools that serve nearly 38,000 students.” — Would the ACLU rather the local police department handle all the policing at schools and take resources away from the city or county, rather then a dedicated, specifically trained for a school environment, police department?

    “Fifty-three percent of the arrests were for low-level offenses, the ACLU said.” — So half and the other half is higher-level offenses, but what are the actual numbers? It sounds an awful lot like the school police department is definitely needed to keep the students, staff, and schools safe and provide a secure learning environment.

    “Disciplinary actions that fall under loosely defined categories, such as ‘willful defiance,’ are more likely to be influenced by bias, such as when black students are more harshly punished for the same or similar offenses than white students, according to research.” — Seems like the only ones biased here are the ACLU.

    This article sounds very biased and generally anti-law enforcement. Does the ACLU care only about the people who commit crimes and nothing about the innocent victims of these crimes? It sure seems that way.

  • Major Kong, somehow I think the N-Word flows off your lips like water. You may clothe your racism in the garb of law and order, but you and I know, you don’t care too much for them colored folk. And, my point with Columbine was that you don’t have those white kids in mind when your are thinking of these “juvenile criminals.” Instead, I suspect you have black and brown kids. Jesus, just admit and embrace your racism. The truth shall set you free.

    Ownership, I believe you when you say you do not care if the juvenile is purple. Its not the purple kids I am concerned about, but the black and brown ones. Those are the ones getting stopped by your and your ilk. . And, you cannot tell me you are called most of the time you end up smacking black people. Can you explain who called you on Ezel Ford. Last I heard, those fine men in blue where doing an “investigative stop.” Can you explain and investigative stop to me, please. I guess that’s when you stop a black kid on the street to investigate what the hell he is doing on the street. And, we end up with a dead black kid, who, by the way, was unarmed.

    Conspiracy, come on. I know you are brighter than that. I was being sarcastic. Maybe I failed at it, but my point, so that you are clear, is that you see “black an brown predators” when you see these juveniles you speak of. You see, for the most part, black and brown kids do the same things in schools that little white kids, but when white kids do it, its a good kid doing stupid stuff. When a black or brown kid does it its a future predator that needs to be suspended or expelled. And, Conspiracy, I can’t take anything you say seriously after your comment about blacks being “involuntary immigrants.” Can you explain that to me? I thought they were brought here as slaves. When the females slaves were raped by the white slave master or overseer, was that “involuntary love making?”

    John Smith, you must be kidding. You would not have even made the special ed debate team. Because they question the funding that means they do not want the “police department should be properly equipped, trained, and staffed?” Really? Its the same old, tired argument-you can’t cut police funding because that means you do not care about police or you want criminals to run wild or you are endangering our heroes. And, you claim the following is “heavy speculation without proof:” “Adults have unconscious bias that causes unfair decisions, such as giving the benefit of the doubt to a white student while punishing a black student.” How much proof do you want. Study after study shows this. Its as the study says, a “well documented phenomenon.” That is why the fine officers on this site are more likely to stop a black kid over a white kid, all else equal. If you guys keep up this junior high level intellectual jousting, I am not going to want to stick around and continue our rapprochement.

  • Of course it’s the Black and Brown kids your concerned about same as it’s the Black and Brown adults, nobody White matters to you specifically White cops. The Black and Brown criminal element that guns down some cop well he deserved it in the world of CF, your racist little dimwitted ass has made that plenty clear.

    The LAUSDPD actually supplemented, for years, their force by hiring off duty officers from other agencies at an hourly rate to assist in keeping their campuses safe and boy was it needed. These “Special Officers” were a savings money wise and in gang infested areas and in schools that had some major problems and were a great source of needed security.
    Nope never worked for LAUSD but am very well aware of that program. Not sure if it still in existence.

  • School violence has no boundaries or color lines. For the dope smokers or anyone else who detracts from the learning environment, there’s always continuation school. Better to have more than less policing in schools. It’s the sign of the times. Of course there shouldn’t be any biases towards certain groups but we all know that they exist to some degree.

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