LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Los Angeles Unified School District students will no longer be issued citations for some offenses, including possession of alcohol or small amounts of marijuana on campus, due to sweeping changes to the district's disciplinary procedures.
Instead of being cited or arrested, students will be sent to off-site counseling centers or the principal's office.
The "low-level" offenses also include fighting on campus and vandalizing school property. In the past, the same violations could have sent students to court or probation.
According to Superintendent John Deasy, the belief is that the lesser form of punishment will keep students, especially minorities, from falling into the criminal justice system.
"Fundamentally, we do not want our first response to be to criminalize. We want it to be to rehabilitate," said Deasy.
The new discipline policy only applies to first-time offenses. The policy then changes when it comes to repeat offenders and those committing major crimes.
"Well, the state of California is very clear on that. If you're going to sell drugs on campus, if you're going to strike an adult, you're going to commit major offenses, you're going to be in front of the LAPD," said Deasy.
The new policy is part of the "Student Bill of Rights," which the school district has been working on for the last year and a half.
The new plan has the potential to impact more than 640,000 students at nearly 1,100 schools in the nation's second-largest school system.