School Climate Policy Reform in L.A. County

CDF-CA works across Los Angeles County to promote positive approaches to school discipline that are restorative, trauma-informed, and child-centered—with a specific focus on the Los Angeles and Long Beach Unified School Districts, the largest and third largest school districts in California, respectively.

Long Beach, California

In Long Beach we have combined policy and data analysis with youth organizing and leadership development in a policy reform campaign—the Every Student Matters Campaign-Long Beach (ESM-LB). ESM-LB is comprised of several youth-serving community organizations, many of which are part of Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach. ESM-LB is also a Dignity In Schools Campaign chapter.

Our campaign seeks to work in partnership with Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) leaders, educators, parents, and students to promote a positive school climate and effective alternatives to discipline practices that currently remove students from the classroom and school. Unlike other large school districts, LBUSD does not have a district-wide discipline code that ensures the use of positive approaches and tiered discipline that employs suspension only as a last resort. Similar to other school districts in California, LBUSD has worked to reduce suspensions, but we still see punitive approaches—especially for students of color.

CDF-CA demands a district-wide school discipline policy that guarantees students have access to positive alternatives and supportive interventions to suspensions, school transfers, and over-policing at their schools. In addition to working toward these systematic changes, CDF-CA also invests in youth leadership development in North Long Beach at Jordan High School and with the Action Scholars Leadership (ASL) program, in partnership with Success In Challenges, Inc. We believe these school transformations are only possible with the leadership of those impacted—the students of LBUSD.

Los Angeles, California

In Los Angeles, CDF-CA participates in both the Dignity In Schools Campaign-Los Angeles (DSC-LA) and the Brothers, Sons, Selves (BSS) Coalition to transform school climate in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools, and ensure the District is allocating sufficient resources and developing supportive infrastructure to implement the School Climate Bill of Rights—one of the nation’s strongest school discipline policies in terms of protecting and supporting students’ rights.