California school district reaches settlement with state over civil, constitutional violations

By Marian Johns | Feb 13, 2019

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached a settlement with one of the state's school districts and its police department to resolve allegations of civil and constitutional rights violations against African-American and Latino students as well as students with disabilities. 

An investigation by the California DOJ led to allegations that the Stockton Unified School District), along with its police department, had unconstitutional search and seizure policies and law enforcement referrals that discriminated against the district's African-American and Latino students, according to the California Attorney General's Office. 

"One of the most critical tasks of the California Department of Justice is to protect the rights of our children to be free from mistreatment, especially in our schools,” California Attorney General Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.  “[This] agreement will require the Stockton school district to take important steps to address and remedy civil rights violations committed against African-American and Latino students in the administration of discipline.

"Our children, especially those with a disability, have a right to know that they will be treated equally in school and not unfairly diverted into the criminal justice system." 

The settlement agreement involves the district working with the state DOJ to rework their policies regarding student law enforcement referrals, establishing a "diversion program for minor school-based criminal offenses" as well as a police "disability coordinator" and referrals for students with mental health needs, according to Becerra's office.  


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