School Signs Discourage Drugs, Dealers

TIMES STAFF WRITER

If police here catch you carrying or dealing drugs, you're in trouble.

But new signs going up around schools in this city now warn that you're in extra trouble if you're caught with drugs within 1,000 feet of school grounds.

Lt. Charles Poe told a press conference Tuesday that schools in the city are now under the cloak of a special state law that tacks on extra prison time to any convictions stemming from drug sales or possession around school areas. The 1989 state law allows cities to declare school grounds special preserves.

"It allows us to file additional charges . . . and enhances the time to be served by an additional three to five years," Poe said.

"We want to pass the word around that Huntington Beach just doesn't want drugs on school campuses," Poe said.

Planning Commission Chairman Roy Richardson persuaded the Huntington Beach City Council to pass an enabling ordinance in 1990, and Councilwoman Linda Moulton-Patterson this year pushed city government to provide warning signs for all school grounds.

In ceremonies Tuesday morning, city officials showed off the new signs in front of Huntington Beach High School. They warn that "possession or the sale of drugs on or within 1,000 feet of school grounds will result in additional punishment. . . ."

"This is a great example of the city working with the school districts to make the community safer and more drug-free," said Moulton-Patterson. "We've worked on this since 1990."

School Trustee Bonnie Bruce praised the new signs as part of the school system's "tough policy" against drugs on campuses. Said Huntington Beach High Principal Jim Staunton: "We certainly appreciate the signs, and we think they're very significant in helping us to prevent drug use and drug sales."

The city and school officials said the warning signs will be placed around the perimeters of every public and private school within the city limits.

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