UPDATE, March 17: Berkeley police issued a Nixle alert at around 12:45 p.m. with regard to the possible child abduction attempt described below. The alert details what the 9-year-old student says happened, and says the driver of the van was a black man in his 20s or older, with shoulder-length dreadlocks. The passenger in the van was described as a Hispanic man in his late 20s, 5 feet 9, with a thin build and dark straight hair. It remains unclear if the incident relates to a series of attempted abductions from last fall that involved a green minivan. Read the full alert.
By Coby McDonald
Two separate incidents in the vicinity of Malcolm X Elementary School on Monday morning brought traffic to a standstill on Ashby Avenue, a state highway, and provoked significant presence from emergency responders and utility agencies.
Two new lively mosaics — one in warm reds and yellows, the other in cool blues and greens — greet passers-by on either end of the Ashby border of Malcolm X Elementary School.
The Ferguson-related protests that have consumed Oakland for the past two nights, and spread to Emeryville last night, have not, so far, directly affected Berkeley, although BPD has been on alert and has called for mutual aid in case it was needed.
When the Berkeley school district added two new kindergarten classes – one to Cragmont school and one to Malcolm X — just before school began, some parents were concerned about what impact the move would have on the schools, which, they said, were neither spacious nor overstaffed. In an opinion piece published on Berkeleyside, Joshua Room, former President of the PTA at Malcolm X, asked why the district couldn’t plan ahead better. Quite a few readers agreed with him.
I am a proud graduate from, and enthusiastic supporter of, the Berkeley public schools. I am a lifelong resident of Berkeley, and have chosen to raise my family here. I love the school that my children attend, and have had nothing but tremendously positive experiences with all of the teachers and staff that have been involved in their education and care.
When we first sent our two sons to Berkeley public schools in the mid-1970s, the debate about education was a little heated. Neighborhood schools were out, busing was in. Tracking of any kind was a no-no. It seemed to some that in the name of equality, folks wanted to drag everyone down to the lowest common denominator. One by one, friends and neighbors were pulling their kids out and going private.
So many new students have unexpectedly enrolled for kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school year that the Berkeley Unified School District has to add three new kindergarten classrooms.
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