Category Archives: Schools

5 arrested in Berkeley after 15-20 youth fights downtown

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, April 13, 5 p.m. Regarding the students who were arrested Friday, the Berkeley Police Department has provided the following basic information:

  • A 16-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of participating in a riot, as well as battery on a peace officer or other sort of officer or first responder.
  • A 16-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of probation violation.
  • Two 17-year-old males were arrested on suspicion of battery.
  • An 18-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of battery, as well as either fighting in a public place or challenging another person to a fight in public. (Police identified him April 15 as Deantae Williams.)

Four of the students are listed as Berkeley residents. The 18-year-old lives in Richmond, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. Berkeley High Principal Kristen Glenchur identified all five of the youth on Friday as Berkeley Unified students: three Berkeley High students and two Berkeley Technology Academy students. She said the students also would “face additional school discipline.” … Continue reading »

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School Board adopts interim sexual harassment policy

Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee Peggy Scott speaks to the School Board during public comment.
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Amid a federal investigation on whether Berkeley High School inadequately responded to sexual harassment claims, the Berkeley School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a new, interim sexual harassment policy.

While passing the sexual harassment policy, and its accompanying administrative regulation, the Board placed conditions on certain points of concern raised by parents and students, such as revisiting the policy in no later than a year, and expediting the hiring process of a permanent Title IX Coordinator.

The interim policy, the first update to BUSD’s sexual harassment policy since 2006, is a model policy created by the California School Boards Association, or CSBA. The policy outlines how sexual harassment complaints should be handled by the district and what disciplinary actions offenders should receive. … Continue reading »

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Sam Pasarow named as new Berkeley High principal

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Sam Pasarow, an Oakland middle school principal, will be Berkeley High School’s new principal, starting in July, Berkeley Unified Superintendent Donald Evans announced at last night’s school board meeting.

Pasarow will take the helm from Kristen Glenchur, who has been interim principal since last summer. Pascuale Scuderi, who served as principal for four years, became assistant superintendent for educational services at BUSD last summer.

“Finding the right leader for Berkeley High School has been both challenging and exciting,” Evans said in a statement yesterday. “We had so many great candidates, and we were fortunate to have the involvement of teachers, administrators, board members and parents who participated in the interview process. I am very pleased with the outcome, and confident that the BHS community will find a strong educational leader in Principal Pasarow.”  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley student suspended after stabbing other student

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Update, April 13, 3:30 p.m. According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, police arrested a 17-year-old male from Richmond on the evening of the stabbing on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Original story, March 26, 6:57 p.m. A Berkeley High School student was suspended after stabbing a fellow student in the back Thursday. The incident happened off campus during the lunch period. The BHS senior who was injured sustained a non-life-threatening knife wound, and was in stable condition with his family Thursday afternoon, according to an email put out by BHS Principal Kristin Glenchur at around 5 p.m.

Glenchur issued the first of two emails to the Berkeley High community just before 3 p.m. She said the incident happened near Milvia Street and University Avenue. Initially it was thought the perpetrator was not affiliated with Berkeley High but, in her second email, around two hours later, Glenchur said authorities had identified a BHS student “as the person who had the knife.”

“The altercation appears to have been personal and not random,” she wrote. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: We must address the affordability crisis faced by Berkeley teachers

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Recently a fifth grade student in my class told me that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. I was incredibly pleased, a bright young person deciding that they want to be an educator is an amazing thing. It also made me feel pretty proud that perhaps I had played a role in inspiring such an ambition.

However, another part of me wonders what will the teaching profession look like ten years from now when she is graduating … Continue reading »

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Berkeley-based college becomes first Muslim accredited college in U.S., plans to move to Northside

Zaytuna College, the first Muslim accredited college in the United States, is moving to 1712 Euclid Ave. this year. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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Amid preparations to move its campus to a new location north of UC Berkeley, Zaytuna College recently became the first Muslim college in the United States to receive accreditation.

March 4, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a regional accrediting agency in California, Hawaii and the Pacific, sent an approval letter of accreditation to Zaytuna College President Hamza Yusuf.

Zaytuna College students are now eligible for federal financial aid. However, most of the 50-plus students attending Zaytuna College are financially covered by private donations, according to campus spokesman Safir Ahmed. … Continue reading »

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Semi-pro Ultimate frisbee team moves to Berkeley

The San Francisco Dogfish, a Major League Ultimate frisbee team, is moving to Berkeley for its 2015 home games.
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For being the lone teenager in a group of adult professionals in last Sunday’s practice, Colby Chuck showed his San Francisco Dogfish teammates he was no greenhorn in Ultimate frisbee.

Perhaps home advantage came in play for the Berkeley High junior. After two years bouncing around in San Francisco, the Dogfish, one of eight teams in the semi-professional Major League Ultimate, is moving to Berkeley and will call Yellowjacket Stadium in Berkeley High its new home starting next month.

Chuck can’t play for the Dogfish due to his status as a high-school student, but he is gaining valuable experience by practicing every week with the team.

“The players mentor me to get better for college and beyond,” Chuck said. “It’s just great that they can correct my game and make me get better.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Black Pine Circle school aims to set Guinness world record for largest gathering of Einstein lookalikes

Einstein record at Black Pine Circle. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Students at Black Pine Circle — as well as parents, and really anyone else who could be roped in — yesterday attempted to set the record for world’s largest gathering of Albert Einstein lookalikes.

The Black Pine community gathered on the school’s athletic field at 2 p.m. sporting jackets and ties, as well as fluffy white wigs and mustaches.

They achieved a record with 319 people dressed to look like Einstein. While it looks promising — to set the record the school needed to field a minimum of 250 participants — the final decision as to whether they make it into the Guinness Book of World Records will be made by judges representing Guinness after they have reviewed all the evidence. That includes statements from stewards and witnesses, video footage, as well as aerial footage from a drone that was hovering overhead.  … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Schools need to stop our friends from making us fat

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Obesity is contagious. If I am obese, my friends, my friends’ friends, and my friends’ friends’ friends are more likely to be obese.

These obese social networks are growing, as evidenced by American children being three times more likely to be obese today than they were in the 1980s. How do we combat this staggering trend?

Implementing national nutrition and cooking curriculum standards in schools would be a start. This would promote healthy relationships with food among social networks, as … Continue reading »

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Religious group with cameras targets school kids

Bible van photo Jolie Gobler
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When Jolie Gobler, an eighth-grader at King Middle School in Berkeley, left school at the end of the day Wednesday last week she was surprised to see people right outside campus assertively passing out religious pamphlets to students, titled “Our Savior Jesus Christ.”

They were working from a van, parked on Grant Street by the school. Messages painted on the van read: “Seek the Lord Jesus” and “Holy Bible” in English and Spanish.

Gobler was also a little irked. She wrote Berkeleyside: “They were shoving (the pamphlets) in to students’ hands. I asked one of them what they were doing at a public school preaching about religion. They replied they were informing students about Jesus and said that if we believe in “our savior” we would be forgiven for our sins.”

Eventually, Gobler said, a vice principal came out and talked to the apparent missionaries, a response she felt was slow. “It would be great to find out… what the school administration will be doing to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Gobler wrote.

Not much.

This is because passing out religious material outside a school is perfectly legal, as long as the activity isn’t on school property, said Mark Coplan, Berkeley Unified School District spokesman. … Continue reading »

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Feds launch civil rights investigation into Berkeley School District’s response to sexual harassment claims

Berkeley High School. Photo: Lance Knobel
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The federal Office for Civil Rights has launched an investigation into whether the Berkeley Unified School District inadequately responded to sexual harassment claims at Berkeley High School, thereby creating a “hostile environment on the basis of sex.”

Failure to adequately respond to sexual harassment claims is a federal offense under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded educational program. The Office for Civil Rights, which is a sub-agency of the Department of Education, opened the investigation after receiving a complaint letter in December from Heidi Goldstein, a parent of two Berkeley High School students. The office’s investigation was launched in late January. … Continue reading »

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One of Berkeley’s largest trees to be cut down

The giant eucalyptus tree near King Pool that needs to be cut down. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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A giant eucalyptus tree that presides over the swimming pool at King Middle School needs to be felled due to safety concerns, according to City of Berkeley tree experts.

The tree, which sports not one, but four massive trunks, and soars to an estimated 140 feet, is much loved by regulars at the pool, and news that it will be removed has come as a blow to many.

“There’s no outrage in this story, just sadness and admiration for a truly majestic tree that has reached its end,” said local resident Robert Collier. … Continue reading »

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If measles breaks out in Berkeley, unvaccinated children may be quarantined for 21 days

The current outbreak of measles in California can be traced back to Disneyland. Photo /Creative Commons
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If measles breaks out in any Berkeley school, the Berkeley public health department will direct all unvaccinated children in that school to stay at home for 21 days, the department announced on Jan. 29. This applies to both public and private schools.

The announcement comes as California is experiencing an unprecedented number of measles cases, most linked to a December outbreak at Disneyland. There have been more cases of measles reported in January 2015 than there were in all of 2014, according to Dr. Janet Berreman, Berkeley’s director of public health. Since measles is highly contagious, those numbers are expected to climb.

“I am strongly encouraging families who didn’t vaccinate their children to reconsider that decision in the face of a statewide outbreak of measles,” said Dr. Berreman. … Continue reading »

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