Berkeley High Principal Erin Schweng sent the following statement to the school community just after 5:20 p.m. Wednesday. It appears below in full. Although Ann Coulter canceled her plans to speak at UC Berkeley, her supporters have said they plan to meet at 2 p.m. at Civic Center Park to rally. See all of Berkeleyside’s coverage of the recent demonstrations.
Berkeley High Community and Families,
I am writing to let you know that we are aware of the possibility, as well as the uncertainty, surrounding conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s potential visit to the U.C. Berkeley campus tomorrow. There have been many conflicting reports in the media about what exactly will take place, and we are working with BPD as well as BUSD district staff to get the best information we can.
What we will prepare for, whether or not Coulter comes to Berkeley, is that supporters for and against her speech are publicly, through social media, announcing plans to demonstrate regardless. While these activities may remain centered at U.C. Berkeley, the fact that recent protest actions have occurred in Civic Center Park, adjacent to our campus, raises the potential that groups may gather there again tomorrow. Since these events raise noteworthy safety concerns, we are asking our school community to be aware of what could unfold on the UC campus, the downtown area, or next to our campus tomorrow. Our primary goal is to ensure that BHS students avoid unsafe situations.
We plan to hold classes as usual on Thursday, yet as precautions we plan to do the following:
- Close the Allston (“A gate”) side of our campus after 9:00 tomorrow. All entrances and exits to the buildings will shift to the Milvia side of campus. The MLK side will remain closed as always.
- Have extra safety staff on the perimeter throughout the day
- We will make a determination about how to proceed with lunch dismissal based on how events in the morning unfold. If needed, we will keep the Allston side of campus closed to all in and out traffic.
- Maintain consistent contact with Berkeley PD via our on-site School Resource Officer
Furthermore, we ask that you:
- Speak to your students about being safe and making good choices to stay away from potentially violent crowd behavior
- Strongly encourage students to stay away from Civic Center Park, the Shattuck area, or anywhere near the U.C. Berkeley campus on Thursday
- Be aware of potential traffic issues for pick-up on Thursday, and make a plan to pick up students somewhere other than the Milvia Street side of campus if possible
Thank you for your time and attention. We in no way mean to unnecessarily raise anxiety in our community, but we simply want to share information openly around potential events like these. We will communicate with families as the day develops and keep our community informed of any important or relevant changes or activities as they occur.