May 19, 2015

A group of students and teachers are involved in a class-action lawsuit against Compton Unified School District to improve outcomes for low-income students affected by violence and trauma.

Mark Rosenbaum, an attorney with Public Counsel, which has taken a major role in assisting with filing the lawsuit, draws a link between exposure to trauma and low literacy, dropout rates, withheld grade level advancement, low achievement, and criminal punishment. He says that studies show physical changes in brain structure and chemistry from traumatic experiences, which have long-term impacts and lead to symptoms similar to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The suit says that school district’s policies of punishment and discipline disproportionately and unfairly target students with traumatic experiences.

“It’s the type of roadblock to learning that our federal anti-discrimination laws were created to address, so that students in these circumstances are not denied equal opportunity to public education,” Rosenbaum said. “There is no greater enemy to learning than unaddressed trauma.”

Suit Claims Compton Unified Does Not Do Enough For Students Dealing With Trauma
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Organizations mentioned/involved: Public Counsel