The first case involved a student who was in possession of a small bottle of cognac. Our disciplinary code calls for a five day suspension for any alcohol possession or use at school.Collins suggested that parents continue to have conversations with their children regarding drug and alcohol use. He added that these two cases happened on the same day, which is unusual. He added that these situations are "rare occurrences" for the school.
The second involved a student who was in possession of a lighter, pipe, and small amount of marijuana. Our disciplinary code also calls for a five day suspension for
any drug or paraphernalia possession or use, and also calls for police contact. The Walnut Creek Police Department typically places a student who is caught with drugs on a school campus into custody and transports them to the police station, as was done today.
It is true that suspensions for drug and alcohol possession are "rare." During the 2008-09 school year, a total of 100 students were suspended, but only one was caught in possession or was involved in sales of alcohol or drugs, according to reports to the state Department of Education.
However, a somewhat larger number of WCI students are using or experimenting. According to a 2007 Healthy Kids Survey of 335 WCI 7th graders (86 percent of the class), 13 percent said they had tried alcohol at least once in their lives, while 3 percent said they had tried marijuana. Eight percent said they had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days, while 2 percent said they had used pot.
As for what kids are getting into trouble for at Walnut Creek Intermediate?
The majority of those 100 suspended in the 2008-09 year were punished for violent, rude, and disruptive behavior. Forty-one were suspended for use of "force or violence"; 26 for disrupting school activities or "willful defiance"; and 15 for committing an "obscene act" or "habitual profanity or vulgarity." Of some concern--in light of the recent rape case at the El Cerrito middle school, in which the victim claimed she had been previously sexually harassed by her rapist--is the fact that five WCI students were suspended in 2008-09 for sexual harassment.
No WCI students were expelled in 2008-09. But so far this year, there has been one student in the Walnut Creek school district expelled, according to a summary of the district's December 7 board meeting. The summary of that meeting did not indicate whether the student was a middle or elementary school student.
Last month, WCI dealt with two separate incidents in one week of two students being caught with knives. In one case, a student was packing a "locking blade knife," was released to the custody of his parents, and school officials say the student is no longer enrolled at WCI.
Again, it's rare for students to be caught with weapons at WCI. In the 2008-09, three students were suspended for being caught with weapons, including knives. It should be noted that none of those weapons involved firearms.
In fact, in perusing data for expulsions and suspensions for Walnut Creek four public middle and high schools, going back to the 2004-05 year, I found that no student had been caught with a gun.