Keeping Students Safe in Los Angeles

An Analysis of LAUSD School Incident Reports & Funding

A new analysis by the Black Male Institute at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies details an exponential increase in the numbers of incidents related to mental health in the LAUSD, such as  suicidal behavior, that require response from individuals with expertise in mental health and social emotional challenges, namely more counselors and social workers, rather than police intervention. The brief also highlights an increase in funding for Los Angeles school police despite a decline in student enrollment the past decade, while nearly half of Black and Latino students  are concerned about their safety and many express negative perceptions of school police. The briefs authors recommend that the LAUSD decrease funding from school policing to hire more mental health providers and nurses.

Key findings include: (detailed findings available here)

The Los Angeles Unified School District funds the largest independent school police department in the United States6. This past school year alone, the district allotted $70 million to the Los Angeles School Police Department[1]. This  research brief provides an analysis of district wide school incident reports, funding trends for LASPD, and LAUSD students’ reported feelings of safety at school.

Key Findings Include:

  1. School incident reports are on the rise and there is an increasing need for mental health providers.
  1. LAUSD student enrollment has decreased, meanwhile funding for LASPD has exponentially increased despite evidence showing that schools are not safer. 
  1. Black students do not feel safe in school and have negative perceptions of school police.
  1. To meet student needs, LAUSD should decrease funds for LASPD and increase funds for school nurses and mental health providers.

Recommendations

  • Hire more mental health providers in LAUSD to maintain a 250 to 1 Counselor to Student Ratio

 

  • Reallocate LASPD funding to the Student Equity Needs Index

 

  • Listen to Black students and invest in the things that will make them feel safe

The full research brief is available here

AUTHORS: ELIANNY C. EDWARDS, MAEd, EARL J. EDWARDS, MAEd, TYRONE HOWARD, PHD, & THE BLACK MALE INSTITUTE LAB

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