Susan Ferriss

Susan Ferriss is a reporter with wide experience at home and abroad. She has investigated a range of issues, from military toxic waste and real-estate fraud to police corruption and international drug trafficking. She covered California state government and politics for several years, and was a prize-winning foreign correspondent in Latin America, where her reports included stories on child labor, child migration and transnational gangs.

Recent posts

North Carolina Foster Teen Languishes in Adult Jail for School Incident

Selina Garcia, 17, was entered into North Carolina's adult legal system, despite still being a minor in the state's social services system. Courtesy of Selina Garcia

Did a foster-care teen need to be arrested by school police this month for alleged battery on a school bus? And then jailed for more than two weeks with adults long after a judge ordered her released?

The questions swirling around Selina Garcia, 17, of Raleigh, N.C. are part of a broader national debate over treatment of foster kids and the role of school police. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Nation’s Largest School Police Force, in L.A., Will Stop Ticketing Kids 12 and Younger


Responding to demand for reforms, the nation’s largest school police force — in Los Angeles — will stop issuing tickets to students 12-years-old or younger for minor infractions allegedly committed on or near campuses during school hours. A memo this month to officers from Los Angeles Unified School Police Department Chief Steven Zipperman outlined the new policy, which goes into effect in December. The announcement comes in the wake of community demands for the school district to “decriminalize” minor school disciplinary matters and use more discretion when involving law enforcement personnel. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Criminologists’ Critique Questions NRA Task Force School Safety Strategy


Journal article calls gun lobby plan 'superficially simple'
Originally published at The Center for Public Integrity

Two professors at Marshall University in West Virginia who are studying incarcerated school shooters and one professor at The Citadel, South Carolina’s military school, published their jointly written critique this month in the American Journal of Criminal Justice. The criminologists began their review last December after the NRA announced its “National School Shield” project in response to a gunman’s massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators in a Newtown, Conn. school.  The NRA’s initial thrust was to urge schools to hire more police, but also persuade states to allow teachers or other willing staff or volunteers to carry arms. The NRA said it would provide training. In addition, the firearms association formed a task force to study schools’ vulnerabilities and make suggestions. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Controversy Over Cops in Schools Flares Anew

Photo by Frans Schouwenberg
From the Center for Public Integrity

The Obama administration wants stiffer gun control, and $150 million to help schools hire up to 1,000 more on-campus police or counselors, or purchase security technology. State legislators are considering shifting millions of dollars around to help schools hire more police. Some locals aren’t waiting: The 5,500-resident town of Jordan, Minn., has moved its entire eight-officer police force into schools. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said after a young man shot his way into his former grammar school on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., and killed 20 first-graders and six educators. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,