Los Angeles schools decriminalize discipline

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation's second largest school district says students caught misbehaving will be sent to the principal's office rather than the courthouse as part of sweeping reforms to the discipline policy at Los Angeles schools.

Superintendent John Deasy says the district's police officers won't arrest or cite students for low-level offenses but will instead refer them to administrators or counselors.

The new policy includes infractions like possessing alcohol, tobacco and less than an ounce of marijuana, along with most schoolyard fights.

Educators and activists say the changes are in place for the current academic year and will prevent students, especially minorities, from becoming mired in the criminal justice system.

The change by the Los Angeles Unified School District marks the latest rollback to harsh penalties imposed under "zero tolerance" policies.

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