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.
Scuderi said it had been an unsettling day on campus. “Having a gun on campus is a very serious matter,” he said. He confirmed three BHS students had been arrested and that, following school procedure, they would all automatically be given a one-year expulsion.
At the time of the press conference, Scuderi had not sent out an email to parents notifying them of the incidents. He informed students and staff with an intercom message before lunch.
Scuderi said having two concurrent firearm incidents as well as a power outage at the school had complicated matters. Power was restored on the campus at about midday, according to BUSD spokesperson Mark Coplan. At 2:29 p.m. Scuderi emailed the BHS community. He wrote: “I realize that there are tremendous concerns about this morning’s incidents at BHS involving another firearm. I am in the process of crafting a detailed note to you all and will have it out by 3:00 p.m.”
Coplan confirmed that the tip about a second gun being concealed on campus emerged during the investigation of the two students who were arrested in connection with the first incident. The second gun was unloaded, he said.
Scuderi said he would be holding a series of meetings with students to talk about the severity of the situation when students carry guns. “We will have small teams of staff go into every history classroom and talk to students in an intimate setting — not a school assembly — about what it means to have weapons,” he said.
He said the school would also be implementing an anonymous telephone hot-line, the system for which, coincidentally, had arrived in his office this morning. He added that he would also organize a forum for parents to address the issues surrounding these incidents.
Update, 3:55 p.m.: Principal Scuderi sent out an email to BHS parents and community at 3:40 p.m. in which he detailed the incidents of today. He writes: “Obviously today marks a most concerning trend with weapons being brought on to our campus. Our concern is heightened by the fact that this time a weapon was discharged. In response to this incident BHS will increase safety staff and supervision until spring break as we review this situation, and all related situations, in order to craft a comprehensive intervention for this most unsettling series of incidents.” Read the full email.