Prom Bust Spurs Action 

Prom Bust Spurs Action 
Posted by FoM on June 08, 2000 at 10:52:54 PT
By Bill Rams & Monica Valencia
Source: Orange County Register 
Twenty Irvine High School students were suspended or transferred after they were caught at the prom in a parked shuttle bus with a nitrous-oxide tank, marijuana and a glass pipe, school officials said.Most of the students were juveniles, and some had participated in an anti-drinking education program days before the event.
"They were the rich, trendy, popular crowd, the kind everyone wants to hang out with," said senior Alison Cayetano, who attended the prom. "The girl that cried the most (in the anti-drinking program) was the most high." One juvenile student was cited for marijuana possession; another is the son of a school-board member, police said.School officials said board members did not interfere with their disciplinary decisions. Some of the evidence includes pictures the students took of each other with a disposable camera showing them inhaling the nitrous oxide, police said.The bus was chartered to take students from Irvine High to the prom, held May 20 at the Sun Theater in Anaheim."It was kind of disgusting to find out what they did," said Irvine High prom king Jason Bischoff. "Aside from a fantastic evening, it only takes one bad seed to ruin the crop." Five days after the prom, officials sent home a letter to parents telling them they would be installing video cameras on school buses to prevent that kind of behavior, a school official said. Most of the 22 people on the bus were Irvine High seniors. Two do not attend the school.Fifteen first-time offenders faced five-day suspensions plus a 10-day exclusion from extracurricular activities.Five others were second-time offenders and were excluded from extracurricular activities, including graduation, for the remainder of the year. Those students were transferred to Self High School, a continuation school, to complete their credits to graduate, said Irvine High Principal Gail Richards.Other schools, such as Foothill High School in Tustin, enforce more-stringent policies. First-time offenders at Foothill may be subject to transfer of expulsion, according to a policy adopted last year. "Our goal is not to kick the students out of school," said Richards. "That is an educational program when kids see this many kids get suspended."They learn after seeing what happened to their peers."Irvine High's policy on drug and alcohol use will not change, she said, although future drug-awareness programs may include education against inhaling chemicals such as nitrous oxide. The prom came days after a program called Every 15 Minutes urged students to stay sober during prom and graduation. The May 18-19 project involved a mock 911 phone call, a staged car crash and simulated student deaths. Every 15 Minutes was sponsored by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control and the Irvine Police Department.The suspensions are big news on campus."The thing that irritated the student body the most was that a few participants in the Every 15 Minutes program were caught doing something foolish," wrote junior Austin Chu in the student newspaper. "Many students thought they were hypocrites for contradicting their own actions.""I think a lot more should have been done (in addition to suspension)," said sophomore Kayla Hayakama, who said one of her friends got in trouble that night. "Suspension won't work."Some people don't (care) if they can't go to class."But Richards said the alcohol-awareness program was successful."The kids (who were suspended) were not drinking and driving," said Richards, who saw the students on prom night. "They were pretty remorseful, upset, nervous for what they did." Police Sgt. Bob Richardson said the students, in a rented limousine shuttle bus, were caught after a vice principal saw the bus parked far away from other vehicles.Two off-duty police officers served as chaperones at the prom.A school official smelled marijuana as he approached the bus, Richardson said.Anaheim police took the 27-inch nitrous tank, a glass water pipe and a small amount of marijuana into evidence.Anaheim police Sgt. Joe Vargas said the driver was not cited or arrested because he told the officer he had no idea what was going on."We've developed a relationship with the limousine services that we won't tolerate any substance abuse," Richards said. "They communicate very well with us. This is one limousine company we had not heard of before. The driver should have interceded."The kids' safety is their responsibility during the time they have them." Register news researcher Dick Glasow contributed to this story  Published: June 8, 2000Copyright 1999 The Orange County RegisterRelated Articles:USA Drug Arrests Tripled in 1998 Seek Reform of U.S. Drug War a Joint, Lose Your Loan 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: