President Bush saluted three California schools Monday for their efforts to provide a drug-free learning environment for children. He singled out the Live Oak Elementary School and declared that “every school in this country can be safe and drug-free.”
In addition to the Live Oak school in Sutter County, Bush also honored the Bella Vista Elementary School in Shasta County, and the Parkway Middle School in La Mesa near San Diego.
In a ceremony in the Rose Garden, Bush painted an idyllic portrait of Live Oak: “The residents fill only five pages of the phone book. One traffic light. No hospital, no jail. Just a drugstore, a few restaurants, a post office.”
But, he said, “drugs got into the school and things went downhill fast,” until the school developed “a drug-free education program that is gradually influencing the face of the entire community.”
Honoring teachers, principals, community leaders, parents and students from schools throughout the nation, Bush said: “You understand that students have a right to learn in drug-free schools.”
Later Monday, in a commencement speech at Cheltenham High School in a suburb of Philadelphia, Bush exhorted the 331 graduating seniors to show the same idealism and devotion to country that led Chinese students to confront armed soldiers and die for democracy.