Fewer Pupils Expelled for Arms Than Drugs

Discipline policies have failed to curb the number of students expelled from the school district over the past three years, although the reasons for the expulsions have changed, according to a district report.

The report notes that expulsions have remained steady since the 1992-93 school year at about 1% of the total student population, or an average of 285 students a year.

Peggy Adin, who oversees expulsions for the Santa Ana Unified School District, said that while the district has implemented a zero-tolerance policy, conflict resolution and other programs over the past three years, it may take at least another year before their full effects can be seen.

The percentage of students expelled for threatening or hurting other students dropped from 30.5% in 1992-93 to 21% in 1994-95. Students expelled for possessing weapons also dropped from 17% to 11%.

Adin attributed the drop in weapons violations to the district's 1993 zero-tolerance policy and the fact that word has gotten out to students.

The reason for 24% of expulsions, the largest percentage, was possession of drugs, up from 14% in 1992-93. Adin said the rise was due, in part, to heightened awareness among school staff of drug use.

None of the expulsions in the past two years involved killings, stabbings or shootings, Adin said.

The report was commissioned by the Safe Schools Ad Hoc Committee, which was formed in June 1995 to review expulsion policies.

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