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The centralization of school discipline in the second half of the twentieth century is widely understood to be the inevitable result of court decisions granting students certain civil rights in school. This study examines the process by which school discipline became centralized in the Los Angeles City School District in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, and finds that the locus of control over student discipline shifted from the school site to the centralized district largely in response to local pressures. Indeed, during a period of large-scale student unrest, and in an environment of widespread racial and cultural tensions, many Los Angeles students, parents, community members, and educators actively promoted the centralization of school discipline—although often for directly conflicting purposes. Ultimately, this article argues that the centralization of school discipline was not inevitable and must be understood in the broader historical context in which it occurred.



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