Los Angeles school police officers, the nation’s largest school police force, issued more than 33,500 tickets to students between 10 and 18 years old between 2009 and 2011, reports the Center for Public Integrity. That worked out to about 30 citations a day. More than 40 percent of the citations were to kids 14 and younger, mostly for disturbing the peace, followed by daytime curfew violations, including tardiness, and scattered tickets for cigarettes, lighters, marijuana, vandalism, or having graffiti “tools,” such as a Sharpie.
Black students, about 10 percent of the district's student body, received 15 to 20 percent of all tickets, depending on the year, and Latino students, 74 percent of enrollment, also received a disproportionate number. The issue of police citations has been included in a federal review of discipline-reform plans that the Los Angeles Unified School District – under pressure to reduce high rates of suspensions of black students — was required to submit this year to the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights. “Generally speaking, in all but the most serious cases we would hope that district officials review a range of options [ ] before referring students to the court system,” said assistant secretary for civil rights Russlynn Ali.