STOCKTON (CBS13) — The Stockton Unified School District is defending its practices against claims by the ACLU that it “over-polices” its students.
The school district is one of only a a few in the state that has its own police force.
Patricia Aguilar’s three children go to class in the Stockton Unified School District. Aguilar says the school’s police force is a constant conversation at home.
“Many times I’ve had to talk to my kids, the police are not bad, they’re here to help,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar and her third-grader were at a community gathering in Stockton where the ACLU released a report card for the school district, with data it says shows the Stockton Unified School District “over-polices.”
“Student misbehavior is too often treated like a crime and we really see that in the data coming out of Stockton Unified School District,” ACLU Northern California spokesperson Linnea Nelson said.
The civil liberty group’s report card, which offered no grade for Stockton Unified School District, shows African-American students are twice as likely to be arrested by school police as whites.
It showed that 41 percent of arrests and citations by the police department were for low level behavior, like truancy, and curfew violations.
Eliseo Davalos is Stockton Unified School District’s superintendent
“It doesn’t paint a picture of Stockton Unified School District is really like, Davalos said.
“Looking at the number of arrests in the last year ’16-’17, there were 40 students arrested out of 37,774 students in the school district. That’s a tenth of one percent. I do t see any alarming number there.”
A debate over the work of Stockton’s school district police. The ACLU is aiming for change. The school superintendent says their report missed the mark.