Decriminalizing Childhood, Ending School-Based Arrest for Disorderly Conduct
This report shows how Virginia’s school system is charging Black students, and Black girls at an accelerating rate, with disorderly conduct—a vague, catch-all law that criminalizes low-level public disruption that does not rise to the level of physical harm, property damage, or even threat—unequally compared to their white counterparts. The authors call for the repeal of the school-based portion of the statute, preventing students from unneeded involvement is the criminal legal system.
This report from the Legal Aid Justice Center and The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis details the decreases in K-12 school staffing and increases in student enrollment that have left school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses with increased caseloads and administrative responsibilities and less time for direct student support. These positions play essential roles in meeting student mental health needs, keeping all students safe and engaged, and helping students achieve academic and career success.