Principal restricts access to Berkeley High because of reports that a fight might break out

BHS principal Kristin Glenchur is asking students to stay on campus for lunch and is limiting outside visitors because of rumors of a brewing brawl between kids from area high schools.

Update, 8:10 p.m.: BHS acting principal Kristin Glenchur sent out an email to the school community at around 5:30 p.m. to report on the incident today and how the school managed it. She said the school had “exercised an abundance of caution” by increasing police presence on and around campus and that it had “issued school discipline consequences to those students who were involved in the McClymonds incident.” “We are glad to report that today was quiet with no interruptions to class,” she wrote. Glenchur recommended that families pick up their students on the MLK side of the school “as most of the trouble we have had to manage recently has occurred on the Milvia and Shattuck side of school.” Glenchur did not mention that three people were arrested in connection with the incident.

Update, 4:30 p.m. Police arrested three Oakland residents, one of whom was found to have a replica gun, during the lunch period. According to authorities, they told police they were planning to help in a fight between Berkeley High students. See the update.

Original story, 11:30 a.m. The principal of Berkeley High is asking students to stay on campus at lunch today and is limiting visitor access because of a concern that fights may break out.

Kristin Glenchur sent an email to the Berkeley High community Wednesday morning alerting families that Berkeley High and McClymonds High School students may be planning “to continue a personal conflict related to the very large fight that occurred in Berkeley three weeks ago.”


“We now have what we believe are credible reports that the group of students they are fighting with intend to come to Berkeley today either at lunch or after school,” Glenchur wrote.

Berkeley police plan to have a strong presence in the area at lunch and after school.

Siciliana Trevino, who shared these photographs, saw youth in the street looking agitated, banging on trashcans and appearing "ready to fight." Police were coming to disperse the crowd.
Siciliana Trevino, who shared these photographs, saw youth in the street looking agitated, banging on trashcans and appearing “ready to fight.” Police were coming to disperse the crowd.

On April 10, there were a series of brawls that paralyzed the area around Berkeley High. Students from BHS and other high schools got into an estimated 15 to 20 fights off campus from around 3:40 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. About 400 to 500 BHS students flooded the streets around the school to watch the fights.

Berkeley police arrested five teens that afternoon. Four of them were from Berkeley; one was an 18-year old from Richmond. Three were Berkeley High students and two attend Berkeley Technology Academy, official reported.

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said it was one of the largest high school melees he has seen. It was challenging for the 20 or so police officers on duty to gain control of the crowd, he said.


Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
A police cruiser is often parked outside Berkeley High (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso

Alameda County officials have seen an uptick of “wilding” among students at various high schools in recent years, police Capt. Erik Upson said in early April before he departed to become the police chief of Benicia.

Roving kids from one school get into a beef with kids from another school and travel around the region to fight, he said. In 2014, the fighting got so bad the county formed a countywide task force to address the issue. It is defunct but may be revived, said Upson.

“I don’t want to label them as gangs but they are very similar to gangs in how they function and operate,” said Upson. What we see is these groups ebbing and flowing depending on who is beefing with whom. Individual beefs become group beefs. It’s challenging.”

Berkeley police are making their presence known around BHS. Photo: John Arnold
Berkeley police are making their presence known around BHS. Photo: John Arnold

Glenchur has asked teachers to keep their classrooms open during lunch so students have a place to eat. If students do go off campus to eat lunch, Glenchur suggested they avoid crowds.

Glenchur is also asking parents to pick up their children after school, and to use the Martin Luther King Jr. Way side of campus because fighting has traditionally happened on Milvia Street.


Here is Glenchur’s email:

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

In an effort to exercise an abundance of caution today, we are limiting non-student and visitor entry to campus and recommending that students stay on campus at lunch today.

We have confirmed reports that a small number of Berkeley students went to McClymonds High School in Oakland after school yesterday to continue a personal conflict related to the very large fight that occurred in Berkeley three weeks ago.

We now have what we believe are credible reports that the group of students they are fighting with intend to come to Berkeley today either at lunch or after school.

We are recommending that students stay on campus today at lunch and we ask teachers and staff to make their rooms available for them to study in and eat on campus today. If students do choose to go off campus at lunch, we strongly recommend that they avoid or move away from gathering crowds.

We have requested a significant Berkeley Police presence today and no visitors passes will be issued until further notice. We have been in contact with the McClymonds administration and have asked that Oakland staff be present to help identify any of their students.

BHS safety staff and administrators have all been briefed and will be highly visible on and around campus providing increased levels of supervision. Additional safety staff have been added and district staff will also be present on campus throughout the day. Students should be reminded to report any concerning activity or the presence of any BHS non-students to staff immediately.

As a precaution, we are recommending that families arrange after school pickup on the MLK side of the school, the west side of campus, as most of the trouble we have had to manage recently has occurred on the Milvia and Shattuck side of school.

Just a reminder to all: school discipline can be issued for incidents which occur after school or off campus.

As always, we encourage students to avoid conflicts, and to steer clear of any fights or physical conflicts that occur around them. Just being an observer to a conflict you are not involved with presents both a potential danger to your own safety and quite often creates unnecessary obstacles for staff who may need to provide help or assistance to others.

Kristin Glenchur
Principal, Berkeley High School

Related:
5 arrested at Berkeley High after 15-20 youths fight downtown (02.10.15)
2 Berkeley High students injured, 3 arrested after fights downtown (01.22.15)
BUSD superintendent: ‘We have much more work to do’ (11.06.14)
Op-ed: Admin, students share blame for BHS Rally Day mob (10.29.14)
BHS staffer injured, 15 students suspended, due to 500-strong student mob (10.27.14)
Police, BHS prepare for more ‘havoc’ downtown Friday (05.16.14)
Rowdy high schoolers disrupt Berkeley downtown (05.09.14)

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