Tag Archives: Berkeley High School

Schools

Berkeley High principal on sudden leave; VP in charge

New Berkeley High principal Sam Pasarow at a preparatory meeting with teachers and staff. Photo: Mark Coplan
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Beginning Tuesday, Berkeley High Principal Sam Pasarow will be on leave, and Vice Principal Erin Schweng will oversee campus operations, according to a brief email sent to BHS families Monday evening by a school district official.

Few details have been made available, and Pasarow’s email has been disabled.

Former BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi, now an assistant superintendent for the Berkeley Unified School District, sent the email to the BHS listserve just after 5 p.m.

Read more about Berkeley High.

Scuderi wrote that Schweng will “assume the role of lead administrator” immediately and “until further notice.”

He continued: “We understand that the minimal detail included [in] this communication may be concerning for some, yet we are obliged to respect confidentiality whenever private or personnel matters arise.”

BUSD spokesman Charles Burress said no further information could be shared by the district at this time. … Continue reading »

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Schools

Two Berkeley High students hospitalized after eating marijuana edibles

Berkeley High School. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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Two Berkeley High School students were taken to the hospital yesterday after eating marijuana edibles on campus. Both are reported to be fine.

According to BHS principal Sam Pasarow, six students were found to have eaten the products. In a statement to the Berkeley High community, he wrote, “We take this incident and all incidents involving controlled substances on our campus seriously. This investigation is ongoing at this time and does involve cooperation with local law enforcement.”

Pasarow said parents should remind students to never accept food from other students without knowing their origin. “Edible products are particularly dangerous as they can include a range of substances and unclear dosages and drug potency,” he wrote. … Continue reading »

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In film, Berkeley High athletes wrestle with difficult issues

Berkeley High footballers kneel during the national anthem at a game in a still from Stand Up and Kneel, a Vice News Tonight film shot at the school.
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49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gained national attention when he began kneeling during the national anthem at games — a protest against the treatment of black people in the United States. Rolake Bamgbose, a producer at VICE News Tonight, spotted an opportunity for a good follow-up story. The result was Stand Up and Kneel, a 7-minute, fly-on-the-wall film shot on the field and in the locker room of the Berkeley High School football team. (Watch the film below.)

“We had been keeping an eye on how Colin Kaepernick-type protests were playing out across the country,” Bamgbose said last week on the phone from New York. ” We were noticing protests were taking wind at colleges, in middle schools, and even with little-league teams at the elementary level.”

One of Bamgbose’s goals is to find interesting stories with different perspectives that appeal to young people. About a month ago she started making calls around the country to see if she could find a school team that was protesting.

What she found instead was a coach — Berkeley High’s head football coach CJ Johnson — who had just started talking with his team about whether, and how, they should make their voices heard. Johnson told Bamgbose that a couple of his team captains had come to him saying they wanted to protest. A few raised their fists at a game. Johnson suggested talking as a team to decide collectively on an approach.

Bamgbose’s interest was piqued. She asked Johnson if he would hold off formal talks with the team until VICE was able to get a crew onto the Berkeley High campus. Then she and VICE producer and correspondent Jay Kaspian Kang got on an airplane to the West Coast. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High grad remembered at vigil; mother, former BUSD teacher, was also killed

Photo: Benny Wright/Facebook
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A recent Berkeley High graduate who was killed last week in Oakland along with his mothers was remembered Monday during a vigil on campus.

About 100 people came together to remember Benny Wright, 19, who graduated from the BHS Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS) learning community in June. Benny’s mother, former BUSD teacher Patricia Wright, and her partner, Charlotte Reed, were also killed.

Monday, vigil organizers passed out candles and invited attendees to share their memories and thoughts about Benny Wright.

“Benny’s brother (home from school in Mississippi) spoke first for nearly 15 minutes about Benny’s spirit of love and joy and about how he had already forgiven the assailant,” said teacher John Tobias, who helps run AMPS, along with Claudia Gonzalez.

Tobias said Benny, according to his brother, had been deciding whether to become a hairdresser or a nurse.

“He always wanted to make people feel better. Other students and teachers spoke about Benny’s unwavering smile being able to light up a room,” Tobias said. … Continue reading »

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Photo slideshow: Berkeley High walkout, protest march

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More than 1,000 Berkeley High students walked off campus Wednesday morning and marched to the UC Berkeley campus to protest the result of the U.S. presidential election. The demonstration was peaceful and the police did not get involved. Read our story. Watch live footage and interviews on our Facebook Live coverage.

And click through the slideshow above, using the arrows on either side, to see photographs taken by staffers, contributing photographers, … Continue reading »

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1,500 walk out of Berkeley High in election protest

Berkeley High School walkout. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Update 1:45 p.m. The student protest on the UC Berkeley campus is disbanding.

Update, 1:20 p.m. The group of protesters that marched through downtown has headed on to the UC Berkeley campus, first through Sproul Plaza and then to the Campanile (pictured above), echoing the movements of Wednesday morning’s march. According to Berkeleyside’s Arielle Gordon-Rowe, many of the this group are from Albany High. A local attorney in the crowd spoke briefly at the open mic, imploring students to read Howard Zinn. Students demanded the teaching of African American and Native American history, as well as gay rights history, among other things.

We are also hearing reports from readers of separate groups of students in protest marches in North Berkeley. One group was seen on Solano and The Alameda heading to the Gourmet Ghetto.

Update, 1 p.m. Many Berkeley High student protesters are heading south down Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley. Traffic is affected. According to Berkeleyside’s Arielle Gordon-Rowe many Albany High students walked over two miles from their school to join the Berkeley High walkout.  Albany High campus administration supported the students and some teachers joined in. … Continue reading »

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Schools

Longtime BHS math teacher drowns in Russian River

Heidi Boley. Photo: InnovateEd (Featured)
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A long-time Berkeley Unified School District employee drowned Friday when the canoe she and two friends were riding in overturned on the Russian River near Healdsburg.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department found 69-year-old Heidi Boley in the river under some tree limbs around 1:30 p.m., according to a press release. She was airlifted to shore but could not be revived. She was wearing a life jacket.

Boley and her two friends had set out earlier in the day in an inflatable canoe southwest of Healdsburg, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The river was moving fast but was not treacherous, according to the paper. Somehow the canoe accidentally overturned. Boley’s two friends managed to swim to shore. They alerted a vineyard worker that their friend was missing and he called authorities.

Charles Burress, spokesman for BUSD, released a statement from the district: “We are deeply saddened at the loss of long-time BUSD employee, Heidi Boley.” … Continue reading »

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Address verification work continues for Berkeley Unified

The Bonar Street headquarters of the Berkeley Unified School District. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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The Berkeley Unified School District has continued its stepped-up efforts to cut down on enrollment fraud during its second year of widespread home visits and address verifications prompted by a new policy adopted by the School Board last year.

Wednesday night, the board got an update from BUSD admissions manager Francisco Martinez about how enrollment and address verifications have gone so far in the 2016-17 school year.

Martinez was charged by BUSD last year with keeping a closer eye on school enrollment. As part of the new board policy, students in certain grades are required to provide proof of residency — such as a utility bill and additional documents — before being allowed to re-enroll.

This year, the families of all students heading into middle and high school had to provide proof of Berkeley residency if they wished to continue to attend BUSD.

Of nearly 700 students who attended fifth grade in Berkeley last year, 33 did not provide the documents, and went elsewhere for middle school, according to Wednesday night’s enrollment update. Of approximately 740 rising ninth-graders, 28 did not submit documents and they, too, left for other districts.

District staff also visited 503 homes as part of the address verification process “when the staff believes this is necessary to ensure compliance with the Berkeley residency requirement.” As a result of that process, 89 students were not enrolled in Berkeley for the current school year. According to the report, home visits took place in Berkeley, Oakland and West Contra Costa County. … Continue reading »

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Schools

Op-ed: Our extended family: An open letter from Berkeley Unified Superintendent

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This letter was first published on Aug. 21 by Berkeley Public Schools website. Read the letter in Spanish.

We should all be savoring the end of summer, looking forward to a new school year together, but right now we are in mourning for four members of our extended family.

We learned that 22 year old Alex Goodwin was murdered Thursday night near San Pablo Park. Alex is now the fourth of our recent Berkeley Unified graduates to … Continue reading »

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Mother of homicide victim: ‘That bullet was not meant for my daughter’

Marne'e Causey (right) and her mom, Kenitra Love. Photo: Causey family
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The mother of a 23-year-old woman killed last week by gunfire spoke out Wednesday about her daughter’s innocence, her hopes for a music career and her devotion to her family.

“Marne’e did not like violence, she did not like arguing,” said Kenitra Love, mother of Berkeley High graduate Marne’e Maxine Karen Causey. “She wouldn’t argue with anybody. She would walk away first.”

The day Causey was killed, Aug. 9, she had just dropped off several of her younger siblings at her mother’s home. She’d watched them for a couple days to give her mom a break after the family had met up for a birthday party. She’d also dropped off her father at a job interview, and had planned to pick him up later. In the meantime, she was going to meet up with her brother, Bones, so they could go to the music studio together.

They made a stop at a cousin’s home in the 7400 block of Fresno Street in East Oakland. Police say someone opened fire on the home at 3:10 p.m. Causey was hit. She collapsed on the porch and was later pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been made.

“My daughter was not targeted,” said Love, who said Causey had no affiliation or involvement with gangs. “That bullet was not meant for my daughter.” … Continue reading »

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Obituaries

In loving memory of Terrence McCrary Jr., 1993-2016

Terrence "TMack" McCrary Jr.
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Friends and family gathered around the East Bay on Sunday to celebrate the life of Terrence McCrary Jr. (known to many as Terrence Mack).

Mack, who was 22 years young, was born and raised in Berkeley. Also known as TMack, Sweet T and Lil BadBadBad, behind he leaves a cohort of friends and family who are dedicated to ensuring that his legacy lives on.

Mack was shot and killed early Sunday morning, along with 20-year-old Craig Fletcher-Cooks, while attending a birthday party at Prime Development art gallery in downtown Oakland.

Friends worked quickly to organize memorials in Mack’s honor: a celebration at Lake Merritt in Oakland during the day, and a candlelight vigil in Berkeley’s San Pablo Park on Sunday night.

A fundraiser has been set up to help the family.

Mack’s longtime friends, Nicco Piña and Winn Child-Phillips, organized the Berkeley vigil to acknowledge and remember him.

Piña — also known as Neek Levy — and other friends and family of Mack, including his mother and father, Florence and Terrence McCrary Sr., met at San Pablo Park for the vigil.

Florence McCrary said she was overwhelmed by the love and support people have shown for her son, and that it was beautiful to see everyone come together in his name.

Terrence Sr. took a moment to address the crowd. He voiced his appreciation for all the kind gestures from the community, and finished his talk with powerful words: “My son was going to change the world.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Another Berkeley High alum fatally shot Sunday

A tribute to Craig Cooks-Fletcher: "rip to one of the sweetest souls. Your presence, your heart, & that LAUGH will be missed."  Photo: carena torrissa
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Update, Aug. 20: Scroll down to the bottom of this story to see the memorial flyer created to honor Craig Fletcher-Cooks. Memorial information is included.

Update, Aug. 16: A fundraiser has been launched to help pay for funeral costs for Craig Fletcher-Cooks. A memorial is also being planned. Learn more on the GoFundMe page.

A fundraiser to help the family of Terrence McCrary Jr. has also been set up. Learn more.

Original story, Aug. 15: Another young man who attended Berkeley High School has been identified as the second person fatally shot outside a birthday party in downtown Oakland early Sunday morning.

Friends and others who knew him have identified the young man as 20-year-old Craig Fletcher-Cooks. He and 22-year-old Terrence McCrary Jr. were fatally shot shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday after disputes reportedly broke out between groups at the Prime Development art gallery at 322 15th St.

Police have said a third man with gunshot wounds was taken to the hospital for treatment. … Continue reading »

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Crime

2 BHS grads killed in separate Oakland shootings

Terrence Mack, a 2011 Berkeley High graduate, was shot and killed Sunday morning in Oakland. Photo: Azha Luckman
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Update, Aug. 16: A fundraiser to help the family of Terrence McCrary Jr. has already raised more than $12,000. Learn more.

A fundraiser has also been launched to help pay for funeral costs for Craig Fletcher-Cooks, and a memorial is being planned. Learn more.

Update, Aug. 15: Both young men killed Sunday outside a downtown Oakland art gallery during a birthday party were Berkeley High alumni. See the update.

Original story, Aug. 14: A 2011 Berkeley High graduate was shot and killed Sunday morning during an altercation at a birthday party, one of two Berkeley High School grads killed this week.

Another man also died in Sunday’s shooting and a third was seriously injured, according to Oakland police.

The names of the victims have not been released, but Berkeleyside has learned that one of those shot was 22-year-old Terrence McCrary Jr., a Berkeley resident and a 2011 Berkeley High graduate. McCrary was known to many as Terrence Mack.

Sunday at approximately 12:53 a.m., Oakland police rushed to the 300 block of 15th Street after a report that shots had been fired. Police saw a large number of people fleeing the area, according to a press release. When they arrived, officers found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. Officers conducted first aid until paramedics arrived, but both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police found another man with gunshots a few blocks away, according to a statement released by OPD. He was taken by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment. … Continue reading »

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