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ERIC Number: EJ962350
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-6855
Arresting Development: Zero Tolerance and the Criminalization of Children
Fuentes, Annette
Rethinking Schools, v26 n2 p18-23 Win 2011-2012
Supposedly designed to improve student attendance, the aggressive truancy policing in Los Angeles (LA) has discouraged students from going to class and often pushes them to drop out and into harm's way. Truancy tickets play a role in the school-to-prison pipeline. Students are being brought up in an environment that is a pre-prisoning of youth. LA is not the only place where heavy-handed policing has become a problem that advocates say puts students at risk of dropping out. From New York to Florida to Texas, the combination of zero tolerance policies and the increased role of police--in schools and on the streets--has led to an alarming number of suspensions, expulsions, and contact of ever-younger children with the criminal justice system. The high costs to students, teachers, and public education of zero tolerance discipline and policing in schools is causing a backlash in some districts where community organizing is targeting practices like LA's truancy sweeps. After years of protests, the city's Board of Education adopted a policy to implement districtwide a program called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a skills-building, nonpunitive strategy, as the official disciplinary policy, erasing zero tolerance from the books. Although it has been implemented only slowly and unevenly in the public schools, activists are hopeful that it can spark a culture change that will encourage students to stay in school. On policing, LA advocates have scored some success, too. Both the LAPD and the LA school police have announced that they will no longer conduct truancy sweeps during the first hour of the school day in order to avoid ticketing students who would be late for school, not truant.
Rethinking Schools, Ltd. 1001 East Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Tel: 414-964-9646; Fax: 414-964-7220; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California