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Bill would ban problem students

Currently, schools aren't permitted to seek restraining orders

Posted: May 14, 2009 9:42 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2009 9:00 a.m.
 
When the expelled beauty-school student returned to campus, things got ugly.

She stabbed a former classmate in the head with a key and bit a teacher before Lancaster sheriff's deputies hauled her off, said Western Beauty Institute supervising instructor Mark Walker.

But when he went to court last year to file a restraining order barring the woman from his campus, the judge turned him down, saying school administrators can't do that on behalf of their campuses.

"We thought she was going to come back and kill us," Walker said. "We had some students that have actually left our school over this girl."

Walker's story inspired state Sen. George Runner, R-Antelope Valley, to introduce a bill that would give administrators power to file campus restraining orders against violent or threatening people. SB 188 won unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and is set to go before the full senate next week.

Under current law, business owners can file restraining orders on behalf of their businesses but school officials would have to get each student and staffer at a school to file individual restraining orders, said Alan Auyeung, a legislative aide to Runner.

The assemblyman's bill would take effect at elementary, junior and senior high schools, as well as at trade schools, colleges and universities.

At College of the Canyons, officials have their own way of getting rid of troublemakers: trespassing charges.

"We do that pretty often," said Michael Wilding, vice president of student services, who handles student disciplinary matters.

Though the open campus is considered public property, anyone who is being disruptive and does not have business there can be arrested and prosecuted, he said.

"One fellow brought a gun on campus," Wilding said. "Another person was actually battering his daughter on campus."

Another bill under consideration would allow California's 72 community college districts to share student expulsion records, which are currently considered private. AB 1440 would allow colleges to deny admission to students expelled from other districts for serious offenses.

Wilding said he is in favor of both bills, and that most college expulsions are for violent offenses.

"Those people have no place on the campus, and I do firmly believe they should be expelled from the (California community college) system," he said.

Back at the beauty school, Walker said the expelled woman continued to stalk and menace students for months after the initial attack. Walker said he's glad Runner's bill appears to have the support it needs to pass.

"It's going to make me feel safer," Walker said. "It's going to make me feel like there is some recourse we have to protect us."

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