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New Security, Drug Programs for Schools

March 17, 1985|LENORE LOOK | Times Staff Writer

Increased campus security and drug education programs conducted by law enforcement agencies will begin in California public schools within the next two months to reduce truancy and drug abuse, state Supt. of Public Instruction Bill Honig and Atty. Gen. John Van De Kamp announced Friday.

The two state officials were in San Diego attending a statewide conference sponsored by Californians for Drug-Free Youth.

The programs will target elementary school students, starting in the first grade, Honig said. The idea is to promote an interest in school at a younger age and to raise youngster's awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

"This is an experimental area," Honig said. "We are looking for the right curriculum to cut truancy rates in half. There is not enough spirit in school, and we need to start that spirit earlier."

Honig and Van De Kamp agreed that the solution to the "deeply ingrained" problem of drug and alcohol abuse in California schools is not in scaring students into school but in educating them about the destructive potential of drugs.

"Getting them back on campus and under control is an important step in any program to reduce juvenile crime and drug abuse," Van De Kamp told the gathering of nearly 800 educators, parents and students.

San Diego Police Chief Bill Kolender said that his department will undertake a new approach, using video tapes to demonstrate to students the dangers of substance abuse, but will not be using a "scared straight" tactic.

Honig said that it will take "a long time" to change public attitudes about drug and alcohol abuse, but that "the increasing number of those admitting that there is a problem in our schools is the first step in solving it."

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