Below is the news release from Metro, which held a media event this morning (see video above):
On Monday, September 10, 2012 at 10 a.m. the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles School Police held a press conference to launch the new Transit Juvenile Diversion Program.
This new program targets student behavior and student safety on public transit. The goal of the program is to keep juvenile students who ride the Metro buses and trains out of the criminal justice system in the event they are cited for minor infractions and keep them in school. “We want to keep students, who may commit minor infractions, out of the courtroom and in the classroom,” said Superintendent John Deasy. “This program allows us to better achieve that goal, while enhancing student safety at the same time.”
The intent of the Transit Juvenile Diversion Program is to provide options for deputy sheriffs and police officers for addressing infraction violations, such as smoking, eating, loud noises, littering and fare evasion, by students traveling on the Metro and Municipal transportation systems to and from school. “More and more students are using Metro buses and trains to get to school, and we want them to take pride in their transit system and do their part to make public transportation a good experience,” said Metro Deputy CEO Paul Taylor. “It is our hope that through the Transit Juvenile Diversion Program the schools will train students to ride Metro safely, creating a better transit environment not only for the students but for all who use the Metro system.”
The program provides a new option for law enforcement personnel that leverages the school discipline process and emphasizes correcting disorderly behavior that degrades safety and public order on the Metro system. “Providing juveniles with the option of school-based discipline allows students on the Metro transit system to correct inappropriate behavior in the school setting and it reinforces responsible student conduct while riding the transit,” said Sheriff Baca. “Students belong in schools and not the juvenile criminal justice system.” In 2011, there were 7, 622 juvenile cites on Metro and year to date for 2012 there are 4, 696 cites. The collaborative partnership between all the involved agencies will promote public safety and sets expectations for civil behavior.