Category Archives: Schools
The San Jose-based construction company that employed a man killed during a work-related accident last August in Berkeley has been fined more than $20,000 for two related safety violations authorities said led to the man’s death.
The state Division of Occupational Safety & Health, OSHA, concluded its five-month investigation into the man’s death Jan. 30, Berkeleyside learned Wednesday.
OSHA issued two citations totaling $23,200 to the Robert A. Bothman Construction in connection with the alleged safety violations, which include not keeping under “positive control” the three-axle dump truck that crushed 62-year-old Oscar Marquez of Livermore on Aug. 27 while he was working on the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School track renovation project. … Continue reading »
The family of the young man who died of an apparent suicide at Berkeley High School on Monday told Berkeleyside this week they were not sure how he had ended up there, and said he had been struggling in recent years with drug addiction.
Authorities identified the 21-year-old as Michael B. Hamilton, whose last known address was in Placerville. Police said Hamilton’s family is based in Oregon.
Hamilton’s mother, Erma, shared a photograph of her son with Berkeleyside on Thursday.
She said his family in Oregon is struggling with his death, and isn’t sure why he chose Berkeley High as the place to end his life.
She said he had been dealing with drug addiction over the past few years, adding, “He had an extremely hard hand of life. He was my shining star filled with some darkness!” … Continue reading »
UPDATE, Feb. 18, 3:55 p.m.: Berkeley Police say the young man who committed suicide on the Berkeley High campus was 21-year-old Michael B. Hamilton. There is nothing to suggest that the death wasn’t a suicide, said BPD Officer Jennifer Coats. Hamilton does not appear to be have connection to BHS, she added. Hamilton’s family, who are in Oregon, have been notified of the death. Hamilton’s last address was in Placerville.
ORIGINAL STORY: A man was found dead on the Berkeley High School campus on Monday, Feb. 17, when the school was closed for Presidents Day holiday.
Berkeley police said they responded to a report of a possible suicide at Berkeley High at approximately 2:14 p.m. on Monday.
BPD and the Berkeley Fire Department responded to the scene. A male, who appeared to be in his early 20s was discovered and it appeared he had hanged himself, according to a statement released by BPD at around 8:30 p.m. Monday. … Continue reading »
This time of year is always hard for the Berkeley High class of 1974 boys basketball team.
“A Valentine’s day doesn’t go by without me thinking about those 15 guys I played with,” said Kenny Walter, former guard.
Forty years ago in February, 17-year-old Greg Brown, the leading scorer on the team, died from sudden cardiac arrest in the middle of a game.
It was in honor of Brown — and the installation of seven automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at Berkeley High that might have been able to save the athlete’s life — that members of the ’74 team gathered together on the court once again, during the varsity boys victorious Feb. 7 game against San Leandro High. … Continue reading »
Berkeley High School celebrated National Letter of Intent Signing Day 2014 on Wednesday with a signing ceremony for Berkeley High football player Michael Lazarus. Lazarus was awarded an athletic scholarship at a Division I university, California State University, Fresno.
The young man’s mother, Neesa Lazarus, is also part of the Berkeley Unified School District family, working at John Muir Elementary School and Berkeley High as an American Sign Language interpreter, said Mark Coplan, school district spokesman. … Continue reading »
Dora Sorell, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to more than 400 students at Berkeley High School on Thursday.
Berkeley High teacher/librarian Ellie Goldstein-Erickson facilitated two assemblies with the 90+-year-old Sorell, who has visited the school before. She said she comes back because, “It is important that young people know what happened so long ago, and those who already know should not forget. I worry about that.” … Continue reading »
A citywide initiative proponents hope will close the achievement gap in Berkeley public schools appears to be working, though significant disparities remain, according to data presented Tuesday night in a special session before the Berkeley City Council and School Board.
The 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth — called “2020 Vision” for short — is a broad collaboration dating back, in its earliest form, to 2008, and is designed to chip away at the achievement gap among racial groups in Berkeley schools by the year 2020.
According to organizers, African-American and Hispanic students consistently perform “significantly below their peers on state and district standardized tests and other measures that predict academic success, such as chronic absence, truancy, suspension, and dropout rates. By some measures, the disparity in the academic performance of Berkeley students along race lines, commonly known as the ‘achievement gap,’ is one of the widest reported in California.” … Continue reading »
The cooking component of Berkeley schools’ highly regarded cooking and gardening program may soon be eliminated for financial reasons, and the future of the entire program in middle and high schools is also at risk.
The Berkeley Unified School District board was scheduled to hear details of the proposal in a presentation titled ‘Re-envisioning the Cooking and Gardening Program’ at its regular meeting this evening. However the item has been postponed to a future, as yet undefined date, according to director of the cooking and program, Jezra Thompson.
Under the proposal, cooking classes would be eliminated for the 2014-15 academic year. The focus of the program would then center on gardening for pre-kindergarten through third grades. Gardening programs for middle school and high school students would be eliminated.
A major reduction in funds has prompted the need to re-evaluate the program and jobs will also be lost as a result. … Continue reading »
When gun violence in the school’s neighborhood forced LeConte Elementary School to go on lockdown earlier this month, second grade teacher Pamela Diebel and her colleagues weren’t able to lock their own classrooms, and students in bathrooms and hallways missed the announcement on the loudspeaker. But the next campus in the district to go on lockdown may not face the same challenges.
The Berkeley Unified School District will immediately begin to implement a nearly $2 million school safety improvement plan approved by the school board to install new PA systems, increase the use of surveillance cameras, conduct armed intruder training for staff — and replace classroom locks so that the doors can be bolted from the inside.
“All of those improvements were ones we desired,” said Diebel. “I would’ve liked to be able to lock my door from inside.” … Continue reading »
A fifth grader at John Muir Elementary School in Berkeley was honored in his classroom yesterday by the Berkeley police for his “eagle eye and his quick, decisive response” in helping search teams find a missing senior citizen with dementia last week.
Sixty-one-year-old Monte Winterhalter went missing from a house on Tunnel Road near Domingo Avenue in Berkeley on the morning of Tuesday Jan. 14. He had only recently moved to the area and suffers from dementia. Winterhalter was found in the evening of the same day by Brandon Coleman and his mother, Niema Coleman, who spotted him in the area of Broadway and Monroe Street in Oakland. … Continue reading »
LeConte Elementary School was put on lockdown at 2:15 p.m. today after the Berkeley police responded to an attempted robbery in the school’s neighborhood where a gun was fired.
There were no reported injuries to people or property during the incident, and the lockdown at LeConte was lifted at 2:30 p.m. before the end of the school day.
According to Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, at approximately 1:54 p.m. BPD officers responded to a call about a loud report in the area of the 2900 block of Deakin Street, which is immediately south of the school which is situated at 2247 Russell St., between Telegraph and Shattuck avenues.
“As officers responded it was reported that a male subject was seen running from the area and possibly jumped a fence in the 2900 block of Deakin,” she said by email. … Continue reading »
After complaints about the swimming pool at Berkeley High went ignored for years – including reports of hair loss and eye irritation in swimmers – the Berkeley Unified School District last month decided to overhaul its system of monitoring the pool, shifting responsibility from the school administration to the district’s offices.
The change came after numerous parents expressed concern about the pH balance of the pool, the city of Berkeley closed it down twice, and the coach repeatedly pleaded with the school district over four years to fix numerous problems, including reports of unbalanced chemical levels, rust, and algae in the water. Many of the problems went unaddressed.
In November, Berkeleyside filed a public records request with the district. The documentation turned over by BUSD – dozens of emails and memos adding up to hundreds of pages – revealed an extensive history of unaddressed maintenance issues both big and small and lax oversight of the pool. … Continue reading »
Just weeks after an agender student was set on fire in Oakland while riding an AC Transit bus, the Berkeley Unified School District has adopted new policies to protect those who are transgender, gender fluid, or do not identify as male or female.
The school board adopted the new policies, which will go into effect immediately, by a 5-0 vote at its meeting on Wednesday Dec. 11.
The new rules will allow people born into one sex but who identify with another to use whatever bathroom or locker room they prefer. They can join the athletic team of their choice and dress however they want. They can use whatever pronoun they prefer to refer to themselves. … Continue reading »