LAUSD’s Anti-Truancy Ticketing Down, But Racial Disparities Up

The significant improvements have come with troubling new developments.

By Julianne Hing Nov 05, 2013

In the years since community groups started tackling Los Angeles Unified’s youth ticketing policy back in 2006, the district has cut way back on its use of the discriminatory policy. Five years ago the district was handing out upwards of 3,000 tickets a year. Tickets come with stiff fines and requirements for both child and guardian who miss yet more school and work to show up in court. In the 2012/2013 school year, LAUSD handed out 209 tickets, an 80 percent cut. 

But, according to a new report from the Labor Community Strategy Center (PDF), the improvements have been made alongisde increasing racial disproportionality in who gets punished. Back in the 2010/2011 school year a black LAUSD student was 3.8 times as likely as a white student to get ticketed. But the following year it jumped to 4.5, and in the 2012/2013 school year black students were nearly six times as likely as white students to get ticketed. As the report authors write, "Statistics like these raise the question of whether it has become social policy to criminalize Black and Latino youth for behaviors that are considered normal and acceptable for white students."

Read the rest of the report (PDF) for more, including a discussion on overpolicing of students of color in the nation’s schools.