District Mulls Drug Policy 

District Mulls Drug Policy 
Posted by FoM on October 12, 1999 at 07:30:46 PT
By Jill Leach & John Gittelsohn
Source: Orange County Register 
The school board Monday debated how to make the district's "zero tolerance" policy more tolerant, amid criticism that it had been inconsistent and often too harsh in punishing students who drink or use drugs.
About 30 people attended the Tustin Unified School District's board meeting, with parents, students and residents alternately urging board members to stand firm or amend the controversial policy."The district should look into creating a point system as a possible remedy," said Tom Eldridge, a parent.Eldridge's concept is similar to the point system used by the state Department of Motor Vehicles for driver violations."If you dismiss someone from a job you need a paper trail and a point system could be that paper trail," he said.Under the existing policy, in place since 1997, Tustin students found to have used alcohol or drugs in school or at school-related activities face a mandatory five-day suspension and involuntary transfer.But Todd Ching, a student at Tustin High School, urged the school board to reform the policy."I suggest a new policy that contains due process and consistency," Ching said.Discussion of the policy follows the board's decision last month to allow eight Foothill High student-body officers accused of drinking vodka at a leadership camp in August to remain at school because of "extreme circumstances."Board members declined to specify what constitutes "extreme."Critics argue that the policy has been ineffective in deterring drinking or drug use and fails to help rehabilitate students who might have a substance-abuse problem. Last year, 45 students were transferred under the rule.The policy will be discussed again at the board's Oct. 25 meeting."One reason we're having trouble with this policy is that it is so rigid,' said Francine Scinto, board vice president. "I wish it worked. If it did, it would be a deterrent and we wouldn't be here tonight."She said she appreciated Eldridge's suggestion and said the district should look into it in depth.October 12, 1999Copyright 1999 The Orange County Register Related Articles:Board Silent on Turnabout - 9/25/99
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