DOJ, Stockton Unified Reach Settlement in Discrimination Case
The Stockton Unified School District has reached a legal settlement with the California Department of Justice four years after the start of an investigation that found widespread discrimination against black and Latino students, as well as students with disabilities.
The district will now implement a five-year plan to address the problems discovered by the DOJ, which ranged from unconstitutional searches and seizures to discriminatory law enforcement referral practices.
The following components of the five-year plan were outlined in a DOJ press release issued Tuesday:
• Clear policies and procedures with respect to how and when school administrators refer students to law enforcement;
• Creation of a formal diversion program to address minor school-based criminal offenses, aimed at minimizing arrest citations and bookings;
• Revision of policies and procedures relating to treatment of students with disabilities in order to prevent discrimination, including the hiring of a trained Disability Coordinator at the police department to ensure compliance with disability discrimination laws;
• Creation of a protocol for school site administrators to refer students who exhibit indicators of mental health needs instead of a referral to the police department, where appropriate;
• Training all officers on crisis intervention to handle calls that relate to students in mental health crisis or exhibiting behavior that may indicate mental health needs;
• Reforming use of force policies, procedures, and practices, including a comprehensive review process;
• Ensuring any searches or seizures conform with constitutional standards;
• Providing extensive training on the constitutional and civil rights of students, disability and special education laws, and elimination of bias;
• Tracking and analysis of all arrests and referrals to law enforcement from schools; and
• Creation of a community advisory committee.