Susan Ferriss

Reporter  The Center for Public Integrity

Susan Ferriss is a prize-winning former foreign correspondent who has been investigating treatment of children by the U.S. justice and immigration system, law enforcement and the school-discipline process. She joined the Center in 2011. She won a first-place investigative prize from the national Education Writers Association for her 2012 series revealing how thousands of Los Angeles school police citations were pushing mostly Latino and black kids, almost half younger than 14, into courts for minor infractions. She is also a two-time Casey journalism award finalist for her police stories and an investigation into excessive expulsions of students in Kern County, California’s “expulsion capital.” In 2014, she won Columbia University’s Tobenkin national journalism award for reporting on discrimination for “Throwaway Kids.” This report documented how Latino farmworker kids were forced to attend alternative schools in California so far away from home they either dropped out, or only attended one day a week while enrolled full time on paper. As a reporter at the Sacramento Bee, Susan produced prize-winning immigration stories and covered state government and politics. And as a Latin America correspondent for nearly a decade with Cox Newspapers, Susan covered everything from indigenous rights movements and death squads in Colombia to transnational migration and drug trafficking. Her series on failed economic reforms in Mexico won top honors from the Overseas Press Club and the Inter-American Press Association and was a Loeb business reporting finalist. Susan is co-author of The Fight in the Fields, a history of Cesar Chavez and the farmworker movement and producer of The Golden Cage, a documentary about farmworkers. She was a Knight fellow at Stanford University and is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley.

Los Angeles schools have the largest school police force in the nation, with officers issuing thosands of tickets every year to students.

As concerns over student-police relations rise nationally, data shows 40 percent of LA school police citations go to kids 14 and under.

UPDATED: Schools' police chief responds to new citations data.

California lawmakers want to stem tide of suspensions, expulsions; lawyer featured in Center story testifies about boy's case

Obama administration clashes with immigrant advocates over deportations of parents, and the definition of criminal immigrants.

Report on Kern County's student expulsion patterns informs debate on reform proposals before California legislators.

Children's Defense Fund says more kids killed by gunfire than military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gun-rights group used endorsements, campaign cash and political pressure to spread laws nationwide.

Details are emerging about a man who followed a black teen walking from a store, confronted him and shot him dead

Cases involve 14-year-olds with life without parole for killings; in one case, unarmed boy didn't shoot victim, but law required sentence

New federal stats show harsh punishment for African-American students

An assault at a girls' prison latest problem in a troubled system in Georgia; victim's mother charged money to get reports on investigation

New federal statistics reveal blacks, Latinos students face harsher punishments than whites

No easy path to a green card for kids who've grown up without papers, as Florida student's case shows

Truancy is a problem among some students, and cities grapple over sending police out, issuing fines and prosecuting parents

Court records show teen suspect's father was arrested many times for crimes

NY's chief judge wants to stop trying 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for non-violent accusations

In a nationally watched move, Los Angeles decides to limit police involvement in daytime curfew stops and drop $250 fines

Public Integrity and California Report collaborate on reports about Los Angeles daytime curfew controversy

Charter schools lauded by Mayor Emanuel face parent unrest for collecting $5 fines that have added up to almost $400,000 since 2009

Public is often quick to want teens tried as adults, but research shows minors in adult system more likely to reoffend once free

Complaints lead to police limits on student ticketing, counseling for first offenses

Great Recession takes toll on Florida students, with homelessness spiking

Undocumented parents say they fear deportation if they talk about accused teacher

Cops, judges, politicians taking a new look at fines and handcuffs

Meeting called with Calif. state finance staff to consider possible closure of all state youth prisons

A task force in Los Angeles, Calif. attacks harsh school discipline, truancy dollar fines

Md. considers dramatic reduction of suspensions; Mich. school suspends boy for long hair

A Virginia dad wants alert from schools when discipline starts, and in California ACLU objects to police interrogating student journalists

A new federal report recommends serious study, reconsideration of imprisoning youths as adults

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