In a small conference room on the second floor of old City Hall, a group of school administrators, parents, students, police and safety officers have met regularly over the past nine weeks to debate how to tackle the issue of guns at Berkeley High.
The BUSD Board last night approved expenditure of $89,000 to boost security and staff training at Berkeley High following the recent spate of guns on campus. It also heard from Director of Student Services, Susan Craig, and Principal, Pasquale Scuderi, on what measures had been taken so far, and those that were planned in response to the incidents.
A 17-year-old Berkeley High student who was involved in an incident in which a gun was fired in a men’s bathroom on campus on March 22 was spotted on school grounds Monday, despite him having been expelled. BUSD spokesperson Mark Coplan said the student was seen at around midday by Berkeley High security staff who called the police to have him removed. By the time Berkeley police officers arrived on the scene, the student had disappeared.
The Berkeley Unified School District released a plan on Tuesday to improve security at the high school, but didn’t address one of the major recommendations made by the police – to put security officers in uniform.
It was 2:10 pm on a warm Thursday afternoon and the Berkeley High detention center was hopping.
In a special session of the Berkeley Unified School District board last night, board members, staff and parents agreed on the need for urgent action in response to a string of gun incidents at Berkeley High School and B-Tech. Among the immediate likely steps will be a requirement for visible IDs for students and staff.
None of the 35 Berkeley High School students who are on probation was involved with the recent spate of gun incidents at the school, according to Alameda County’s top probation official.
Berkeley High School is currently on lockdown as we write. Prinpical Pasquale Scuderi issued an email to the parent community stating: “This is a precaution we are taking because we believe there were individuals with weapons on the perimeter. All of our students are safe inside their classes and we will have more information to follow within the hour. The incident has been resolved.”
In the middle of a meeting called to discuss guns and safety at Berkeley High School, the deputy district attorney in charge of Alameda County’s juvenile division stood up and announced that the community is not being realistic about how dangerous a place it is.
By Frances Dinkelspiel and Tracey Taylor
Students at Berkeley High School do not necessarily agree with the views of their parents and the adult community at large when it comes to issues surrounding safety, security and guns on campus.
Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi held a press conference at 1:40 p.m. today about the two incidents of guns being found on the Berkeley High campus today. In the first case the gun was fired through the wall of a portable building housing men’s bathrooms; in the other a student was found to have a gun in his backpack.