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Drug and alcohol use leads to more expulsions from Pleasanton schools

Original post made on Jul 9, 2010

An increase in drinking and drugs on campus has led to 33 expulsions and 604 suspensions in the Pleasanton Unified School District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 9, 2010, 12:00 AM

Comments (39)

Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 9, 2010 at 5:51 am

These seem like very important issues. Thank you to Glenn Wohltmann for writing such a well researched article. I hope it prompts a lot of community discussion.

Posted by Didn't know
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

I didn't realize we had that many cases. Right to be expelled...Shock them into real life standards and expectations, hopefully before it's too late for them.

Posted by tired of this
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2010 at 9:37 am

How about publishing the names of the parents who are such resounding failures that their kids use up the resources of every system in place? There was one of those useless burdens on society who was in my class for all of high school. Students, teachers, everyone tried to get him expelled but mommy and daddy had money and lawyers. He eventually lived up to (down to in his case) his potential. He raped and murdered the sister of one of the kids he had menaced throughout high school.
Get them out, keep them out and make the parents pay the bill. We do not need to continue supporting these wasted people with little or no potential. Sending them to Village High School just puts them back into the community.

Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Val Vista
on Jul 9, 2010 at 10:34 am

I don't think our schools are doing enough to protect our children from these juvenile delinquents in school. My daughter told me about this kid from her class who was expelled from her elementary school for bringing a knife to school and threatening to kill another kid with it. This juvenile delinquent later resurfaced in middle school and apparently was expelled again for kicking someone in the face. My daughter later learned that he was sent to another middle school.

I must ask: WTF is wrong with this kid's parents? Do they simply have no influence over their kid or do they simply don't care? Moving him from one school to another is not the solution. This kid, and others like him, should be locked up at a Juvenile Hall or something to keep them from harming others. This kid's parents should be held accountable for their kid's actions.

Posted by Erin
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

"Do they simply have no influence over their kid?" They have a great influence over their kid, from whom do you think he is learning to abuse people?

Posted by maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 9, 2010 at 4:46 pm

What kind of follow-up is done with the parents if your child is expelled from school? Are parenting classes part of the deal to get your child back into the school system? I totally disagree with switching a child to another school, that's just like shifting the problematic behavior to someone else's school environment.

Posted by Responsible Dad
a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

By the grace of god go I. You are so quick to judge and condemn.
There is such a severe over reaction to youth. Many of us responsible adults would not have made it past the zero tolerance attitudes of today as we were growing up.

Posted by LOL
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm

@ "Responsible Dad": Speak for yourself.

Posted by Susan Moore
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm

A response to the line that says, "Students can be questioned by police without a parents consent or knowledge". While that is true. What they failed to tell you is that your student has the "right" to call his/her parent before being questioned. Also the student can remain silent. So be careful parents and don't let the school or police dept. get over on you. Students do have some rights but the school will not tell you that. Laws and rights are two different things.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

They trample on student's rights. The first thing they do is take away the students phone (which a student can legally have in their backpack) and hold them for hours without letting them call a parent. The abuse of power is amazing.

Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Susan Moore,

Can you cite the case law or legal code that says a student has a "right" to call his/her parents before a police officer questions them? I highly doubt that is true.

Posted by Student
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jul 11, 2010 at 10:07 am

The US Supreme Court says students have rights, but not in Pleasanton.

The U.S. Supreme Courts ruling said in Tinker v. Des Moines: Students do not lose their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. This was regarding First Amendment rights.

"No State shall...deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process
of law."
Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution

1. What is due process?
Due process means that all people must be treated fairly, according to certain
specified procedures.

Posted by Jamie
a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 11, 2010 at 10:59 am

School officials can ask whatever they so choose, so can the police. However,a child by law, can say, I would like to have my parent present. Or, I would like to have an attorney present. At this time, by law, questioning should cease and desist.

Posted by maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I find it interesting that this topic has now morphed into a discussion about students' rights rather than the original topic of the increase in teenage drinking and expulsions from school. Why is that? My theory is that instead of facing the issue at hand, we allow ourselves to get distracted by the civil rights debate.

What about the learning environment of all students? What about my child being able to go to school without being confronted by this "illegal behavior" of underage drinking? What about looking into why these children are turning to drugs and alcohol to 'escape' from their lives? What about staying on topic?

Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm


What law are you referencing that say a person under 18 can have their attorney or parent present if they request?

They have to be under arrest to be able to have an attorney present, and nothing says anything about having a parent present. If a police officer is doing an investigation and that person is not under arrest yet, that person does not have a right to have anyone present.

If they are under arrest and being questioned, then they can request an attorney and have them present during questioning.

Posted by Terry
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Let's get back to the real topic of drugs and alcohol use among the young people of Pleasanton. Could it be that maybe their parents throw money at them whenever they want. Rich kids are able to buy drugs and alcohol. Look at Hollywood kids. Wake up P-town people.

Posted by jamie
a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Look, I'm just trying to inform some of you parents about the do's and don'ts of what schools can do. Yes, they can question your child. But, if your child says that they want to call their parent before being questioned, they have that right. If the school says "no" you cannot call your parent then that is a no-no. This is really not that difficult to understand.

Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

When an adult is a "person of interest" (while the police are gathering information from witnesses and working with district attorneys to decide who to indict) -- he or she cannot be required to answer questions. Often, police attempt to persuade people to come forward as witnesses, or come clean and admit to wrongdoing. But neither police nor other investigators should cross the line from influence and persuasion, into intimidation. Nonetheless, that line is gray, and in the heat of the moment anger and frustration can blur good judgment.

I believe the same expectations should be made of administrators, as of police, when children are "persons of interest". However, we often think of children as easier to "sway" than adults -- which is why, as parents, we want to be present. We want to advise our children, and protect them from wrongful accusations. At the same time, we want them to "come clean" and be honest (at *least* with us) about what their role was.

Intimidation can generate fear or anger (or both). Those emotions can generate defensiveness, which feeds back into our conversations, and become a vicious cycle.

The challenge, I believe, is how we can break that cycle.

Posted by A reasonable person (a Republican)
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 11, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Sounds like the "Pleasanton attitude" is throw away and forget about kids who did what kids do, make mistakes! Good greif! These are kids ranging in age from 11-17, you cant expect them to make adult decisions! Keep sheltering them wait until they get to college where weed, alcohol, and other drugs are everywhere! Why not teach kids to make the right decisions in the first place?! We need to accpet that we have a problem so big it cant be swept under the rug, I went to Amamdor (class of 2005); alcohol and marijuana is everywhere! It is! Although I like most kids stayed away from it everyone knew who to ask to get drugs if they wanted them, and this will never change. Think back to when you were in highschool... most people reading this could probably remember who to ask if they wanted to get their hands on drugs, so accept it, reality sucks sometimes! We ALL make mistakes, and their is no such thing as a bad child, we as a society need to have some level forgivness, lets not destroy some 14 year old kids future for having a joint or a bottle of booze, lets get the child some help! Expelling them from school just adds fule to the fire and helps to make certian the child is a drug adict in adulthood. THESE ARE CHILDREN!!! HELP THE CHILDREN! Do not hold them to the same standards you would a responsible adult. Get heards out of your butts and accept the world around you!

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2010 at 8:42 pm


I agree with you. So when the administrators commit a "no-no" and the board majority will not hold administrators accountable, as three board members in this article state, what recourse is there?

Posted by Agreed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm

While I don't condone the unlawful actions of the teens in our community, and while I *DO* support that they face up to the seriousness of alcohol or minor drug (weed) charges, I believe that they can be forced into a situation where they spend months or years in juvenile hall, have their lives turned upside down, fall into a REALLY bad crowd there that will change the course of their lives forever for the worse and in a downward spiral. If a parent is allowed to be present for the questioning, it's possible that the situation will turn into a very positive wake-up call for all - the student, the parent, the extended family, the neighbors, and yes, the school administrators as well. The student could end up spending many, many hours doing community service, the commnication lines that the student (and his/her friends) had spend so much time trying to muddy and obscure to get away with things, (no matter how hard the parent tried) might be opened again, and the child/youth might stay out of jail.

Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I also found a PDF on the PUSD website regarding Board Policy 5414 which states in part:

"By law, parents/guardians do not need to be informed or to give consent before the law enforcement officer interviews a student on school premises. PENAL CODE 830.1"

And here is a link to the California Penal Code: Web Link

The Penal Code itself is in dense legalese, but I believe the relevant paragraph is this one:

"The authority of these peace officers
extends to any place in the state, as follows: ....
(3) As to any public offense committed or which there is probable
cause to believe has been committed in the peace officer's presence,
and with respect to which there is immediate danger to person or
property, or of the escape of the perpetrator of the offense."

That page on the website was last updated on March 10, 2010, so I believe it would reflect any recent changes in state law.

If anyone digs further and finds something different, please post a follow up with a better (easier to understand) source.

Posted by Jamie Hintzke
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Jamie Hintzke is a registered user.

FYI - just in case anyone is wondering, blogger, Jamie, country fair is not me, Jamie Hintzke, the board member.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Sounds like the "Pleasanton attitude" is throw away and forget about kids who did what kids do, make mistakes!

You ARE the most reasonable person on this blog!

Posted by Kim
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jul 12, 2010 at 12:44 am

Children are 'moved' to Village High without the permission of the school board trustees even if they have not had disciplinary issues, sometimes with tragic results. Sometimes the children 'moved' are the ones bullied in the regular high schools or are children with disabilities.

I don't get it. Village High is half-day, yes? If a child is having trouble in school, why are they moved to only be in school a half-day.

I wonder if Pleasanton Unified is doing this without school trustee permission and is over-expelling and over-suspending children just to keep the Village High enrollment sustainable.

I have read that for continuation schools that per pupil funding from the State is very high, depending upon when the continuation school was formed. How much per pupil funding does Pleasanton Unified get from the State for every student they enroll in Village High? And how does that translate to the teachers only having to work a half-day?

Posted by Mom2Two
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

Just some comments:

1. The article did not come to any conclusion of why the increase in alcohol and drug (and violence) expulsions.
- could this be because of the academic pressures we as parents, school and society put on our middle-class/upper-class students to succeed?
- not every child, no matter how badly we want to believe and push them to has the desire, interest, or ability to go on to a 4-year BA/BSc school. Yet, what choices are there in our cirrucullum for trade school oriented academics?
- As a society we all look down on this and expect all our children to do AP work and be on the honor roll. Just look at PUSD agreeing to spend more money on texts and classes for Spanish 4 and college sophmore Calculus at Foothill, while cutting programs for at risk kids (yeah I know it was only $11K, but it's an example of our attitude)

So is it any wonder that our children as young as 11 are looking for ways to deal with the academic stress we put them under? Those who advocate for help for the students are right, we need to provide on-going classes for dealing with stress, peer pressure and school work. I agree, we also need to provide resources to parents to deal with children's behavior. Don't critize the parents unless you have tried to parent a child who is headstrong and a risk taker. We all know of good kids and bad kids in the same family.

Posted by PtowmMomX3
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 12, 2010 at 9:15 am

Good points, except "bad kids".

Who they are today is not who they will be. It is a process. The expectation of always good behavior is absurd. It is awfull to hear the codemning attitude of some.

Most parents in this community are very caring and doing their best for their kids.

Anyone working in the schools should know better than to throw away kids because they do stupid things.

Posted by chris
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 12, 2010 at 9:15 am

I will just bet that more than half of the people that judge, condemn, point fingers are now adults who grew up in the 70's and 80's and were behaving just as irresponsible as today's youths. I know for sure that I did what I wanted to do when growing up and it had nothing to do with lack of respect or parenting by my folks. Kids try things and not all get out of that life until years down the road, like myself. So remember we all have a path and we choose it...regardless of parenting, control, etc...

Posted by Dave
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jul 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

"There are also parents who threaten lawsuits over their expelled student."

No kidding??????
When you have three school board members that have said they automatically approve every expulsion brought to them, I would hope someone would stand up to them. I would like to know if the board has ever overturned an expulsion.

Teenagers have always been risk takers. The part of their brain that responds to danger is not fully developed yet. As parents our job is to give guidance and do our best to keep them safe, but to expect adult behavior is naive.
I grew up in the seventies and I know my kids are involved in far less risky behavior than we were, but they are at much greater risk of consequences.

Parents in this community are very involved with our kids. We aren't perfect and neither are our kids but we care and they are pretty terrific imperfect kids!

Posted by Theresa
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I have an idea. Instead of expelling or suspending students for drug and alcohol use, why don't the schools put them to work? Make them pick up trash or clean something. Maybe the school board should organize a program for these kids. Make them work! Don't take their education away. Most kids like being suspended. It's the parents who suffer. Serving the community is the best thing for teens.

Posted by Oh please, Lisa
a resident of California Reflections
on Jul 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm

When students are taking pictures of other kids in the locker room, they DESERVE to have the cell phone taken away. It is absolutely ridiculous that some in this community view a cell phone as a right. Absolutely not!!!

Lisa-ask yourself why a student's cell phone is taken away. Probably because the child was doing something wrong with it. I've seen kids text while their phone is in their pocket.

Posted by PtownMom
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 12, 2010 at 10:50 pm

For safety reasons students are allowed cell phones in their backpacks.

As a parent I want my student to have the phone. Perhaps it is time to have school phones that do not have cameras or text capability.

BTW Oh please, you are rude.

Posted by Scott Walsh
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

This is the kind of topic that should take place in a Community Town Hall type forum. I think everyone would walk away with some valuable information and possible broader attitude. This town reaks of drugs and alcohol consumption like other towns. The kids steal their parents prescribed drugs and use or sell them to their schoolmates. Do you really know what your "little angels" are up to? Not always. My parents didn't.

You want something new? Try cameras in the classroom and other schoolground areas-not bathrooms or lockerooms. Teachers have the right to teach in safe surroundings and kids who want to learn have the same rights. Parents who say their kid did not do anything would see first hand what happened and so would the administration. Teacher Unions could see the "bad apples" they represent and maybe help get rid of them. Camera surveillance has proven valuable on so many levels. Student and TEACHER assaults might go down and those responsible punished.

Now you "Community of Character" in-name-only people can start attacking me. City spends close to $10 million on a second community theater (small) but still has no teen center--go figure. Not every kid is a Thespian, cares about going to a theater, or is an athlete.

Posted by Tom
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:01 am

What is very clear here is that Pleasanton has a growing drug and alcohol problem that needs to be seriously examined by the schools, parents, and law enforcement. The increase in availability of drugs like Oxycodone in Pleasanton is alarming.

Those of you who are judging the parents as being the individuals who are "responsible" for their kids actions, be careful. By the grace of God go you and I! I have met some of the best parents who have done everything "right" and still have a child who is involved in drugs and/or alcohol.

Posted by Dad of Kids
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:13 am

I agree with "Scott Walsh" on this one. I also suggest that we don't "get rid" of the bad kids.. they obviously need help and we should be concerned with them.. not throw them away like trash.

Pleasanton is way too focused on building up our little "Mayberry" and not enough time looking behind the curtain to see we have a huge.. and growing problem with teens that needs to be addressed. There are more kids using drugs in Pleasanton than most of you think.

Posted by Reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Could the weekly please combine the multiple threads from the same story so all comments are on the same thread.

There are five threads from two articles on the same topic. There should be only two threads.

Posted by Reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Could the weekly please combine the multiple threads from the same story so all comments are on the same thread.

There are five threads from two articles on the same topic. There should be only two threads.

Posted by Kathi
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Ironic that people don't want to support schools in expulsions and/or suspensions (see previous blogs) but don't want their kids around druggies or drinkies or look at what really goes on in P-town. Oh and as for making sure that you as a parent were called before you kid was called before questioning, most P town parents would tell their kids to deny it and not face the consequences of their actions because somehow the school forced their kid to take drugs, or their friends, or they may not get into Stanford or .... And as for making them clean campus, yeah right, their little darlings touching garbage, isn't that what the hispanic janitors are for? P Town a cesspool of charm and denial.

Posted by NotSurprised
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2010 at 8:51 am

While I understand that the PUSD schools are statistically better than your average Calif public school, it should be noted that the PUSD is fighting an uphill battle.

PUSD is a government school system.
Everything the government touches, it reduces to failure (with the exception of our national defense).
The PUSD cannot manage to its budget.

The level of education prior to government-mandated schools (liberal Massachusetts was the first) was much higher on average.

The purpose of government schools is NOT to develop independent thinking and learned students. It is to control the content of their understanding and to act as a defacto "parent" vs. allowing parents to perform a variety of their roles.

God bless the opportunity to home school while we have it. (Note the efforts by the Democrats to restrict or eliminate this.)

And thank God for the option of private schools...while we still have it. No, they are not perfect either...but on average...much better than government schools.

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