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Sylmar Cleared in Its Handling of Disciplinary Cases : Review: L.A. Unified rules school did not give preferential treatment to football players arrested in campus drug sweep.

July 20, 1994|STEVE ELLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SYLMAR — The Los Angeles Unified School District has ruled that three Sylmar High football players who were arrested in a recent campus drug sweep did not receive preferential disciplinary treatment from Sylmar administrators.

On May 25, after a lengthy undercover operation at the school, 18 male students at Sylmar were arrested by the juvenile narcotics division of Los Angeles Police Department.

Three football players were arrested, two of them minors. All 18 were arrested on suspicion of felony sale of narcotics.

Dick Browning, a senior district administrator, reviewed Sylmar's handling of the incident and ruled the players received no special treatment.

"Browning looked at it and was OK with it," said Barbara Fiege, City Section athletics commissioner.

Sylmar Principal Linda Ambro could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Fiege said the athletics office received a tip that Sylmar had given the football players preferential treatment.

Two of the players who were arrested have remaining eligibility. Neither was expelled and their arrest will not affect their athletic eligibility for the fall, Fiege said.

None of the players arrested were considered to be among the serious offenders, Fiege said. Sylmar administrators separated the students into two groups according to the severity of the allegations and then disciplined them accordingly, Fiege said.

The majority of the arrests dealt with the sale of marijuana, though at least one adult was arrested on suspicion of the felony sale of cocaine. Only three of the students arrested were adults. The names of the minors were not released.

An undercover officer posing as a student was placed on campus several months before the arrests were made. The sweep was made as part of a program in which schools are randomly singled out for undercover surveillance, police said.

FACING FELONY CHARGE: Leodes Van Buren, Newbury Park High's All-State wide receiver, to stand trial. C1

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