Tag Archives: Berkeley High School


Elisha Davis: Determined to be great, on and off the court

Elisha Davis, a Berkeley High alum, is succeeding on the court and off. Photo: Sun Devil Athletics
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For a college student athlete, there is no season more important than your senior year. It’s the year when everything could soon be coming to an end: the long practices, the extra work on weekends, the countless hours in the library. For many, it is a bittersweet reality.

For Arizona State Sun Devil and Berkeley High graduate Elisha Davis, senior year is an opportunity to live out dreams she has worked for since she was a child. Through her hard work and dedication, Davis has become an honor roll student with WNBA potential. She enters this season with pro aspirations and graduation right around the corner.

Davis, who graduated from Berkeley High in 2012, was introduced to basketball at the age of 6 by her father, and has been in love with the game ever since.

“My first love was really football,” said the 21-year-old Oakland native. “My dad wouldn’t let me play because I was a girl. So he gave me a basketball and basically told me to stay off the football field.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High students wear black to show solidarity

Photo: Portrait of 500 students and staff at end of Blackout day at #BerkeleyHigh
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UPDATE, 10:48 a.m. BUSD Superintendent Donald Evans sent out an email to the school community at around 10:30 a.m Friday in which he talked about the recent incident and the school’s response to it. Of the student-led walkout, he said he “felt fortunate to be part of a community in which our young people are standing up against terror and racism.” And he outlined efforts the administration will be making going forward, including providing support needed “to uplift our students,” investing in professional development and “opportunities for courageous conversations;” changing discipline policies “recognizing that the school disproportionately suspends African American students,” and recruiting and retaining more teachers of color. Read the full communication from Evans.

See photos of Blackout Day at Berkeley, taken by BUSD’s Mark Coplan.

ORIGINAL STORY: Berkeley High students arrived on campus Friday morning wearing black to show solidarity with students of color. The move was prompted by a request from the Berkeley High School Black Student Union which, in an email message to students and the school community sent out at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, asked that “everyone continue to show solidarity with Black students both at Berkeley High and across the nation by wearing all black tomorrow (November 13th).” … Continue reading »

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BHS student to be disciplined after racist statement

Photo- Jackson Grigsby
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The student who posted an inflammatory and racist statement on a Berkeley High School library computer last week was a student of color, according to a school district spokesman. But the student, a male freshman, was not black, according to a city staffer familiar with the case.

BHS Principal Sam Pasarow told the high school staff that the student was “a student of color,” but did not specify which race, according to Mark Coplan, spokesman for the Berkeley Unified School District. Authorities have said they are not releasing identifiable details about the student because they fear retaliation.

Coplan also revealed new details about how the racist, threatening message was discovered Nov. 4, the process Pasarow took to determine the culprit, and the timing of the message Pasarow sent to the community about the incident.

A parent volunteer in the library spotted the image while the student was sitting at the computer since the font was so large and the words captured the volunteer’s attention, said Coplan. The volunteer immediately notified library staff, and the student was detained and taken to Pasarow’s office, said Coplan. This was around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4.

“There is nothing that indicates that the student intended to post it,” he said. “The student was creating a document. A volunteer spotted the document because the wording was so big and brought it to the attention to the staff.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High student linked to racist ‘screen hack’

The 2015 Berkeley High yearbook is being recalled due to an offensive comment on one of its pages. Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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By Emilie Raguso and Lance Knobel

Berkeley High School administrators say they have identified the student responsible for a “screen hack” in the library Wednesday that displayed racist threats against African Americans.

Berkeley High Principal Sam Pasarow said, during a press conference Thursday afternoon, that a student, believed to have been acting alone, was responsible for the message.

The press event followed a peaceful protest and walkout undertaken by more than 700 students earlier in the day.

The identity of the student linked to the screen hack was discovered through “an in-depth technological forensic analysis,” Pasarow said.

The student has since met with the principal and other administrators, and reportedly took responsibility for the messages.

The consequences have not been determined, said Pasarow. They may, however, include expulsion. It’s possible, he said, that the student may not ever be allowed to return to Berkeley High.

Pasarow said school officials are concerned about possible retaliation against the student, and will not release any details that could be used for public identification, such as age, gender or race.

“My sense is the student acted alone,”said Pasarow. “The consequences are going to be pretty intensive.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High students walk out, rally after racist threats

Demo Eric Panzer
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By Tracey Taylor, Lance Knobel and Emilie Raguso

Update, Nov. 10: Listen to Berkeley High Principal Sam Pasarow, Berkeley High Black Student Union co-president Alecia Harger, and Berkeleyside co-founder Lance Knobel discuss the walkout and what provoked it on KQED Forum. The 25-minute segment was broadcast on Friday Nov. 6 at 9:30 a.m.

Follow live coverage on Berkeleyside’s Twitter page, and at #BHSwalkout.

Update, Nov. 5, 5:10 p.m. Thursday afternoon, school officials announced they had identified the student responsible for the hate crime.

Update, 3:40 p.m. Thursday’s demonstration and march through Berkeley, from the high school up to the Cal campus, went smoothly and was devoid of disturbances or arrests.

“We didn’t have any problems,” said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman. “From our standpoint it was terrific.” … Continue reading »

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Racist threats posted on Berkeley High library computer

Berkeley High School. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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[Editor’s Note: The following story contains graphic language and images that are disturbing.]

Update, Nov. 5, 5:10 p.m. Thursday afternoon, school officials announced they had identified the student responsible for the hate crime after hundreds of Berkeley High students walked out of class and marched to UC Berkeley to raise awareness about the incident.

Original post, Nov. 4, 11:19 p.m. The Berkeley High School community is reeling after a racist message threatening violence against African Americans was found on a library computer Wednesday afternoon.

At 10:24 p.m., school Principal Sam Pasarow sent an email to the BHS community about the incident.

He wrote: “Today in the library, at approximately 12:30 PM, a hateful and racist message was discovered on one of the library computers, containing threatening language toward African Americans. The administration is looking into who posted this message and I urge students, staff, parents and guardians to please contact the school at 510-644-6121 if you have any information about this matter.”

Pasarow described the message as “a hate crime” and said it “will not stand in our community. I assure you that we are giving this investigation the utmost attention, as well as involving the Berkeley Police Department.” … Continue reading »

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Knife confiscated from Berkeley High student

Berkeley High School. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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For at least the second time this month, authorities responded to a report of a student with a weapon at Berkeley High School, school officials have reported.

Berkeley High Principal Sam Pasarow said police received an anonymous tip Friday morning “that one of our students was in possession of a weapon.”

Authorities “promptly located the student and interviewed him, and determined that he was in possession of a knife. Appropriate actions are being taken in terms of discipline and ensuring campus safety.”

Pasarow said, in an email message to the school community sent Monday at 4:10 p.m. that “This tip is related to a similar one, received on October 8, that resulted in a campus lockdown.” He did not explain how it was related, but Berkeleyside has asked for clarification. … Continue reading »

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Bringing it all back home: Shelley Doty rocks Berkeley

Photo by Eden B. Jones
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Shelley Doty didn’t play in the school jazz band as a teenager but one concept she picked up at Berkeley High continues to shape her musical world. The polymorphous ensemble she brings into Freight & Salvage on Thursday is known as the Shelley Doty X-tet not because as an X-factor guitarist, songwriter and vocalist she can rock, groove, swing, stomp or croon as the particular musical moment demands. Rather, she christened her band with the indeterminate letter because “I recall from high school algebra that X is a variable,” Doty says.

“Over the many years I’ve had the X-tet the number of musicians can be different per night. The wonderful thing at the Freight is that throughout the night the number will change. There are all these musicians who I love to play with, and we’ll have duos and trios and larger lineups with maybe as many as 10 people.” … Continue reading »

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Police: No gun found at Berkeley High; lockdown lifted

The 2015 Berkeley High yearbook is being recalled due to an offensive comment on one of its pages. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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By Tracey Taylor and Emilie Raguso

Update, 5:30 p.m. Berkeley High Principal Sam Pasarow issued the following statement to the school community by email. It appears below in full.

Dear Parent & Guardians,

This email will provide additional details regarding the lockdown procedure that we implemented during Period 4 this afternoon.

The Berkeley Police Department received an anonymous tip that one of our students was seen in the community with a weapon in his possession. We promptly locked down the campus, and located the student and interviewed him. We determined that there was no weapon and lifted the lockdown before the bell for Period 5. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley School Board must take action on sexual harassment

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In Berkeley, a topic of concern is “disproportionality,” the discrepancy between how often students of color are disciplined compared to their population. One of the greatest deterrents to the school-to-prison pipeline is prevention. Education, training, and a culture of respect lead to a safer school environment, which in turn leads to fewer incidents. Stronger, safer policies coupled with a consistent response to bullying and harassment of any kind, lead to fewer suspensions.

Years ago, the federal government decided that every school district needed a Title IX Coordinator to handle complaints about discrimination (which includes bullying and harassment). School districts that receive federal funding must be in compliance with Title IX. Shockingly, and despite the BUSD’s latest PR campaign touting its achievements, the district continues to be out of compliance with the most basic federal requirements, thus creating a precarious situation for our students, where job #1 should be ensuring their safety. … Continue reading »

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Vandalism, crime cause problems at Allston Way Garage

The Allston Way Garage has reported an uptick in students loitering, graffiting, and engaging in sexual activity in the garage area. Photo: Franchesca Paris.
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When lunchtime at Berkeley High rolls around at 11:38 a.m., the gate on the Allston side of the Allston Way Garage comes down. Security guards stand sentry. The gate is not pushed back up until the lunch hour is over at 12:18 p.m.

Even though the closed gate is an inconvenience for potential parkers, the owners of the garage have resorted to such extreme measures because the garage has been trashed by students in the past.

In the spring, groups of high-school students loitered in the garage, painted graffiti, gambled with “large wads of cash,” smoked marijuana in the stairwells, and engaged in sexual activity with other students and occasionally prostitutes, according to Heather Scott, property manager at the Allston Way Garage. … Continue reading »

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BHS Stop Harassing takes campaign to Berkeley council

BHS Stop Harassing has been working to raise awareness about sexual harassment and other types of discrimination at Berkeley High over the past year. Photo: BHS Stop Harassing
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Advocates working to raise awareness about sexual harassment faced by Berkeley Unified students asked the Berkeley City Council for its support Tuesday night, saying the school district has not done enough to respond to ongoing problems faced by students, or comply with mandatory rules.

City officials said they were sympathetic to the group but could not take a position until the Board of Education has a chance to respond. Officials asked city staff to bring the matter to the School Board’s attention, and said they would consider revisiting the topic down the line.

On the Sept. 15 agenda was a resolution submitted to council by the city’s Peace & Justice Commission, which voted earlier this year to send the resolution to council and the board. The resolution was in support of the BHS Stop Harassing group’s work, and outlined the problem as described by the group.

According to the commission’s report, the Berkeley Unified School District did not adequately address the sexual harassment of a student by a school administrator in 2010, when allegations arose related to inappropriate touching and suggestive remarks made to a student by a BHS counselor.

In that case, the district settled in 2011-12 with the impacted family and agreed, among other remedies, to improve the language in the BUSD handbook related to sexual harassment, create an advisory committee to tackle the policy issue, and improve training for parents related to the subject. … Continue reading »

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Cityscape: A Berkeley theater that’s a show unto itself

BHS Community Theater. Photo John King
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By John King

Strict planning dogma says this pair of theaters serving Berkeley High School should be deadly, since they turn their back to downtown Berkeley’s only park and the only doors along the sidewalk are fire exits and a loading dock. Instead, the complex radiates an assurance that blends clean architectural lines with a mass of almost geological force. Most arresting of all, the windowless walls hold enormous bas-relief sculptures that depict the spirit of performing arts as an almost orgiastic cacophony. It’s a high-drama welding of public architecture and art, one worth the trade-off at the street. … Continue reading »

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