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Crime

The Criminalization of Kids Is Over at Pasadena Schools

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 9:09 AM

click to enlarge IF THESE KIDS GREW UP TODAY THEY'D ALL BE IN PRISON. FROM THE MOVIE GREASE.
  • If these kids grew up today they'd all be in prison. From the movie Grease.
If you grew up today and did some of the things you did in high school, you'd be in jail.

Sneaking onto school grounds on the weekend? Toilet papering the quad? Scratching your name into your locker? Giving the local nerd a wedgie? Yeah. The criminalization of the contemporary campus is all too real, says the ACLU of Southern California.

But the civil liberties group says one Southern California city is bucking the trend:

Pasadena. The local City Council voted unanimously this week to limit the role of campus police at the Pasadena Unified School District.

The district had agreed to the deal via a memorandum of understanding.

Under the agreement, teachers and administrators will have primary oversight when it comes to student discipline at schools.

Only in cases where "there is a direct threat to personal or public safety or when certain serious crimes may have occurred" will cops be allowed to go Rambo on kids, the ACLU says.

The group calls the deal "groundbreaking" and hopes it will serve as a model for districts throughout Southern California to push back against what is says is a "dramatic increase of citations, arrests and criminal records for student behavior that used to be handled by educators within the school's discipline system."

ACLU staff attorney Brendan Hamme:

When police are on campus, it is important to ensure that both the police and district staff understand their respective roles. This MOU is a model because it specifically references the California Education Code for when police intervention is appropriate, ensuring that police will only intervene under limited and carefully defined circumstances and otherwise will defer to school administrators.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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