Pasquale Scuderi
Berkeley High cafeteria

By Frances Dinkelspiel and Tracey Taylor

There were two on-campus gun incidents at Berkeley High last week, and police discovered an Oakland youth outside BHS on Friday afternoon carrying a gun, but Principal Pasquale Scuderi does not think gang activity or an intra-school beef is the reason for the recent spate of gun activity.

The three gun-related incidents last week appear to be unrelated, said Scuderi. Kids might be bringing guns to school because of the glamorous role guns have in our society, he said.

“I don’t buy that the only reason kids are carrying guns is for personal protection. I think there is some sort of fascination, a cultural fixation with firearms,” he said.

Pasquale Scuderi

On Friday, at about 4:15 p.m., police shut down the sidewalks on Milvia Street and closed the school’s east gates after a BHS teacher walking to his car noticed four youths gathered around the open trunk of a white Buick Park Avenue, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department. The teacher then spotted what looked like a black semi-automatic handgun in the trunk and called 911.

When police arrived, they detained the four youths, three of whom were Berkeley High students, said Sgt. Kusmiss. They found an unloaded gun and a full magazine clip in the jacket of a 17-year old who was a student at Oakland Technical High School, along with $450 and marijuana that appeared to be for sale, she said. The youth, who told police he had a brother at Berkeley High, was arrested and booked on two felony counts, including carrying a gun near a school and intention to sell marijuana, she said. The three other youths, two boys and a girl, were questioned and released. The 17-year old told police that he had been hanging out and the three youths had come over to his car to say hello.

“The city of Berkeley Police Department does not have any specific information or intelligence that suggests there is a rivalry going on between schools,” said Sgt.  Kusmiss.

Scuderi will be talking to parents about the gun situation at BHS tonight and what measures are being taken to improve safety at the school. The forum-style meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Berkeley High School Community Theater.

In the six days since two guns were discovered on campus, one of which was fired, Scuderi has been re-examining the school’s policy towards weapons and working with staff to craft a more comprehensive and effective approach to the problem.

In addition to bringing in more security staff, and talking to all the students about guns and the consequences of having them on campus, he is taking the following measures:

  • He has talked with Chief Michael Meehan of the Berkeley Police Department which is due to present a set of recommendations to the school on Wednesday.
  • He is conferring with his security staff to review school policy and practice. (There are about 12 security officers at BHS and one Berkeley police officer on campus four days a week.)
  • He met with staff on Thursday to review the protocol of responding to reports of a weapon. As a direct result of the meeting, the BHS teacher who spotted the gun in a car trunk on Friday called 911. In contrast, on Tuesday there was a delay before police responded because BHS staff called their supervisors before alerting security.
  • He has called for a meeting with other high-school principals, including some from Oakland, to find out how they deal with this problem.
  • He is working with student services to add additional supervision for students who are currently on probation.
  • He has spoken with Matthew Gold, the Alameda County Assistant District Attorney in charge of juvenile cases about better to identify kids who might cause trouble.
  • He has contacted Bay Area Peacekeepers, a group that has extensive experience dealing with conflicts and at-risk teenagers. Scuderi is hoping to have the organization hold focus groups with students.

Scuderi added that after the gun incidents, many parents called the school asking that metal detectors be considered at BHS. Scuderi said the school district plans to examine that option, as well as the idea of banning the wearing of gang colors, but that more information needs to be gathered. He needs to know how effective metal detectors are and how they impact the school environment.

“We are talking about a decision that would radically alter the logistics and culture of the school,” he said.

The school administration has talked to about half the student body so far about the fact that guns are not allowed on campus, and has spelled out the implications of bringing them in to school. Even though this has long been a school policy, Scuderi said he thinks teenagers need to hear this message repeatedly. At their age, some things that adults think are obvious may not be so clear to teenagers, he said.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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90 Comments

  1. God now I see why BHS has these types of problems … because there are actually people in the school district (like Mr. Love) who are enabling these thugs and their behavior. It’s time to stop this un-ending tolerance and to stop making excuses for people who simply do not seem able to live by standard rules of acceptable social behavior. You, sir, are the problem.

  2. Do you really think that “higher”education is the panacea for everyone? That’s the falacy that has plagued our school system in the past decades.

    A new study from Princeton University shows that expensive college degrees are not necessarily worth the lofty price tags in the long run when you take into account one’s natural ability…

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/actually-its-stupid-to-go-to-harvard-youll-do-better-as-a-plumber-says-prof-2011-3#ixzz1Ih73HUTP

  3. BHS has one of the highest teacher turnover rates in the state, over 30% per year. The principal’s position changed sometimes yearly until the arrival of Mr. Slemp. Many long-time excellent teachers retired in 2005-2007.

  4. Brad asks Are you getting your money’s worth?

    Absolutely not!

    Have you read my comments about negative externalities because the school board has not insisted the 13 plus Safety officers supervise the park and downtown when they open campus at lunch. This is a lose/lose situation.

    I realize you have not likely read all my postings, and so would not know that when my sons experienced serious safety issues, one back in middle school, and the other at BHS in 2008. I was told by the district that my best options was home school. I have never been able to fiscally or socially afford adapting to how BUSD operates.

    I do not share Lee’s faith in the teaching staff, I have learned that the majority do not have the big picture, have never worked in a functioning system, uninformed about best practice, etc, even the old timers. I recall speaking with Lee back in 2000 several times, when an aware principal Frank Lynch asked parents come on campus to participate in safety matters. Some teachers asked us parents to privately keep them informed about incidents, others thank us for helping, but far too many feel prey to the divisive politics which that keeps this community off balance.

    A better source of information from inside the education establishment about where to apply triage at BHS would come from the former directors of student services.

    Are folks aware BHS has requested an additional year to prepare for WASC accreditation process. BHS cannot afford these gun incidents either.

    I have gone to the BFT, the teacher’s union repeatedly over many years requesting their public support for a proper functioning safety committee. They were of no help.

  5. You can be a progressive educator and a champion of a safe school. I created the CAS program, but also spent a lot of my time on school safety issues. Unfortunately, school officials are often so bust with mind-numbing bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, they forget to act like the leaders they’re being paid a lot to be. Are you getting your money’s worth?

  6. I remember you Lee. There are so many things that I could say in response to your post. But I think I‘ll just mention that I’ve always had a hard time getting large bureaucracies to listen myself. So I’m not surprised to hear they don’t listen to others. Unfortunately, it usually takes a crisis for that to happen. And that usually begins with a paternalistic response. I hope history doesn’t have to keep repeating itself.

    Brad

  7. In 2000 the drug, sex, gambling den was the east stairwell of the A building. When I discovered the situation I went straight to the district office and asked interim Supt Goldstone to join me on the “unofficial” tour. The safety monitors completely ignored the stairwell adjacent to the old “A” hole entrance. I was assaulted by students on the sidewalk for my actions to clean up the stairwell. After searching for the safety monitors I dragged one of them over to where the kids who attacked me were hanging out. He laughed saying ” we don’t know these students names”. Parents of Teens list censored my post describing the situation, the moderator said it was too confusing for parents to read.

    I saw all the things you describe during my years as a parent at BHS. 2000-2008.

    What has happened to dismantle security measures? Ideologues like principal Jim Slemp.

  8. In 2000 when I witnessed BHS culture and climate first hand on a daily basis I started asking questions, one of the first people I was sent to was Linda Fletcher. She and I share a deep skepticism that this community will make school safety a priority.

    I asked some teachers what the reaction has been to the DA reality check, I was told there has been little discussion, not a good sign.

  9. Dr. Fox, thank you for your well thought out response. I taught at BHS from 1996 to 2005 (and, by the way, was a student at BHS from ’75-’78); my arrival was right after teachers began hall supervision to “take back the halls.” I heard many of the horror stories you wrote about.

    One mistake in your comment, however: You wrote “There’s institutional forgetting involved here, as they players have changed over the years.” While this may be true in many portions of our community (administration, Board, parents, students), there is plenty of institutional memory in the faculty and staff. Many faculty and staff at BHS have been at the school for 10, 20, even 30 years. Unfortunately, they are all to often not listened to.

    The first thing the community should do when it looks for a solution is to ask of those faculty and staff who have seen it before: “How did you handle similar situations in the past?” “What promises were made and not followed through with?” “Do you have any suggestions for how to improve our situation?”

  10. My name is Brad Fox and I was assistant principal of Berkeley high from 1991 to 1995. Almost as soon as I arrived at BHS I watched a wave of violence break out. Some students were being attacked and beaten by unknown bands of individuals. One student had his ear crushed with a garbage can that was smashed into his head. Another had his teeth dislodged. A student was beaten at a Shattuck Avenue bus stop. Another suffered a serious concussion and possible brain damage when a desk was smashed into his head. The daughter of the city auditor was drop kicked in the head while having lunch in city hall park. One student was the victim of a strong-arm robbery. Student gang members would put on their colors and attack new students who were considered to be in another gang, whether they actually were or not. It was red versus blue in the hallways and on the streets around the school. One day a gang drove in from Richmond, walked through the then Milvia Street passageway, and discharged a pistol into the school and onto Milvia Street. I was taken by police to interview a little girl at Washington Street School where a bullet had landed through a classroom window. The manager of a downtown dress shop was thrown through the window of the Taco Bell next door. A girl was raped in the old handball courts. In addition, small time craps games floated from location to location around the school, with dozens of students participating. Drugs and alcohol were regularly found in students possession and in their lockers. I hand carried a ninth grade student who suffered from alcohol poisoning out of a school rally. BHS was out of control.

    It’s depressing to remember all of the terrible things that were happening at BHS during my tenure. But I was reading about what BHS is going through now, and it’s deja vu. There’s institutional forgetting involved here, as they players have changed over the years. So the solutions have to be rediscovered and debated again. Time is wasted, and action is postponed.

    What we did was documented. It was even commended by the WASC visiting committee. We put together a school safety committee with parents, teachers, students, police, and community members, worked with a safety consultant to look at the big picture issues, developed a schools safety plan, and did a lot of detective work to stop school beatings, gang rivalries, on-campus drug and alcohol use, and downtown Berkeley violence. We also worked together to monitor the hallways of the school, downtown Berkeley, and city hall park during lunch.

    There were issues then too. The campus monitors refused to wear identifying jackets, claiming they world become targets of shooters. We said that our students couldn’t identify them. They said the park was off off their work area. They made them union issues too. One of our wonderful parents, Linda Fletcher, wrote a study of what campus monitors did in other local school districts for our committee.

    We even got a jobs program going with the Downtown Berkeley Assn. to help cool out the situation downtown A student leader, Mia Gittlen, and I were put on their board of directors because of it’s success. We worked very closely with the BPD and some great police people, including Sgt. Frank Reynolds, so we could become proactive. Police would even use students we would recommend as actors in mock situations to learn how to better work with kids.

    The BPD began giving us crime data crime data so we could analyze for at patterns and to try to brainstorm solutions to the many problems we faced, Having that data was unheard of at the time, and we were willing to reveal it too, also a big deal. We knew that you can’t deal with a problem unless you‘re willing to admit you have one. I remember Sgt. and I going to parent’s house meeting to talk about safety issues. We also organized police/BHS administrator joint patrols of the area around the school and especially the park. We worked with bicycle officers to end the gambling and drug dealing. Teachers and staff took ownership of the halls.

    I also remember building the wrought iron gate at the entrance to the between the buildings facing the park. Even some teachers complained about that one. So we gave them keys. To every problem there is a solution. The fire department said they would drive a truck through it. We worked with the BPD to change their minds.

    There were protests against what we were doing, but we didn’t let them stop the work. Even socialist paradises need some law and order. Of course people get more supportive when it’s their kid, or someone whose kid they know, that gets attacked. A school board member told me that she would never vote to expel a student. She lost her re-election bid. Safety of students does come first. It’s a community issue.

    I’m writing this after having read the March 30 Response to Weapons at High Schools. Much was implemented before. What happened?

    Brad Fox
    Bradfoxmail@gmail.com

  11. My name is Brad Fox and I was assistant principal of Berkeley high from 1991 to 1995. Almost as soon as I arrived at BHS I watched a wave of violence break out. Some students were being attacked and beaten by unknown bands of individuals. One student had his ear crushed with a garbage can that was smashed into his head. Another had his teeth dislodged. A student was beaten at a Shattuck Avenue bus stop. Another suffered a serious concussion and possible brain damage when a desk was smashed into his head. The daughter of the city auditor was drop kicked in the head while having lunch in city hall park. One student was the victim of a strong-arm robbery. Student gang members would put on their colors and attack new students who were considered to be in another gang, whether they actually were or not. It was red versus blue in the hallways and on the streets around the school. One day a gang drove in from Richmond, walked through the then Milvia Street passageway, and discharged a pistol into the school and onto Milvia Street. I was taken by police to interview a little girl at Washington Street School where a bullet had landed through a classroom window. The manager of a downtown dress shop was thrown through the window of the Taco Bell next door. A girl was raped in the old handball courts. In addition, small time craps games floated from location to location around the school, with dozens of students participating. Drugs and alcohol were regularly found in students possession and in their lockers. I hand carried a ninth grade student who suffered from alcohol poisoning out of a school rally. BHS was out of control.

    It’s depressing to remember all of the terrible things that were happening at BHS during my tenure. But I was reading about what BHS is going through now, and it’s deja vu. There’s institutional forgetting involved here, as they players have changed over the years. So the solutions have to be rediscovered and debated again. Time is wasted, and action is postponed.

    What we did was documented. It was even commended by the WASC visiting committee. We put together a school safety committee with parents, teachers, students, police, and community members, worked with a safety consultant to look at the big picture issues, developed a schools safety plan, and did a lot of detective work to stop school beatings, gang rivalries, on-campus drug and alcohol use, and downtown Berkeley violence. We also worked together to monitor the hallways of the school, downtown Berkeley, and city hall park during lunch.

    There were issues then too. The campus monitors refused to wear identifying jackets, claiming they world become targets of shooters. We said that our students couldn’t identify them. They said the park was off off their work area. They made them union issues too. One of our wonderful parents, Linda Fletcher, wrote a study of what campus monitors did in other local school districts for our committee.

    We even got a jobs program going with the Downtown Berkeley Assn. to help cool out the situation downtown A student leader, Mia Gittlen, and I were put on their board of directors because of it’s success. We worked very closely with the BPD and some great police people, including Sgt. Frank Reynolds, so we could become proactive. Police would even use students we would recommend as actors in mock situations to learn how to better work with kids.

    The BPD began giving us crime data crime data so we could analyze for at patterns and to try to brainstorm solutions to the many problems we faced, Having that data was unheard of at the time, and we were willing to reveal it too, also a big deal. We knew that you can’t deal with a problem unless you‘re willing to admit you have one. I remember Sgt. and I going to parent’s house meeting to talk about safety issues. We also organized police/BHS administrator joint patrols of the area around the school and especially the park. We worked with bicycle officers to end the gambling and drug dealing. Teachers and staff took ownership of the halls.

    I also remember building the wrought iron gate at the entrance to the between the buildings facing the park. Even some teachers complained about that one. So we gave them keys. To every problem there is a solution. The fire department said they would drive a truck through it. We worked with the BPD to change their minds.

    There were protests against what we were doing, but we didn’t let them stop the work. Even socialist paradises need some law and order. Of course people get more supportive when it’s their kid, or someone whose kid they know, that gets attacked. A school board member told me that she would never vote to expel a student. She lost her re-election bid. Safety of students does come first. It’s a community issue.

    I’m writing this after having read the March 30 Response to Weapons at High Schools. Much was implemented before. What happened?

    Brad Fox
    Bradfoxmail@gmail.com

  12. Enough to employ the number of skilled laborers we currently have in our economy, which is a hell of a lot. The only difference is that with the way things are right now these folks have to go out and learn their trades after they graduate from high school instead of being able to learn those trades while they were in school.

    The plumbers I know make more money than the majority of college graduates I know. For students who are interested in that kind of career, why not allow them to work towards that instead of pretending that everyone belongs on a college-prep track?

  13. The BIHS Enraged student is composed of 3 IB Sophomores, 6 Juniors. We were also “(B)IHS Students” on the same article. This isn’t really the place for emoticons either. Lastly, I think overall our group has received enough criticism, if you didn’t like a post we made you should have replied to it, not find Me and complain. It’s to late for that.

  14. Good for you, and those kids, but how many people do you think are like you? Enough to employ every new student on the job market according to your proposed vocational tracking plan? I seriously have no idea. But my intuition says no.

  15. I merely meant that people should do things legally, and that applying and getting accepted should be easier in both situations.

  16. I’m paying three guys with high school level educations $13,000.00 to re-roof my house next week. It will take them three days to do. Subtracting the cost of materials, they’re each going to get paid about $400 per day to do that work.

    Electricians, mechanics, plumbers, and lots of other skilled labor jobs pay quite well (often more than the jobs that college graduates get) and do not require college educations.

  17. Of course they know crime happens at BHS. Its not like BHS parents are completely ignorant, it just takes a gunshot for them to get seriously involved.

  18. its hard enough for adults with degrees to get jobs, what makes you think that a HS student would be able to get a high paying job on graduation day? that goal was realistic and existed decades ago. Not so much anymore. What companies would be willing to hire a 18 year old fresh out of HS and be able to offer them a decent salary?

  19. If the parents don’t know what’s going on, how can you say they don’t care?

    For them to care, or not care, they have to know about it.

  20. I know you’re just trolling for laughs, but nobody is actually suggesting that.
    They’re not suggesting taking away higher education, they’re talking about offering additional educational tracks for students who might not be interested in going to college.

    The idea that all students can, or should, go on to college is laughable. For many individuals college is simply not a possibility, and offering them the ability to learn a skilled trade instead of forcing them into a college-prep track would give them valuable experience that they could use to get good paying jobs immediately upon graduation.

  21. you wouldn’t say that if you knew about the process of legally immigrating here from certain countries. 6 year long waiting lists, sometimes longer. I sincerely hope BHS out of district student admission does not reflect immigration policy.

  22. hey, i caught you (B)IHS Enraged Student. Well, when you use that name you support completely opposite ideas. Stop inciting conflict.

  23. which is why, as a student, i look at the reactions of most parents as disturbingly hypocritical. No one cared when student A got assaulted multiple times in once month. No one cared when Student B got robbed for a cellphone and a bart ticket. This atmosphere of ignoring problems is what has caused this environment at BHS. But just about all of the solutions proposed on the comment sections of these articles are irrational and seek to avoid problems rather than fix them. Its obvious that parents have no idea what goes on at BHS.

  24. i know many, and by many i mean around 10, students who have been on probation when they were in 9/10th grade for doing simply idiotic things. But have shaped up and have become model students, soon to graduate and attend prestigious colleges and universities.

    This is because the crimes they committed were drug or graffiti. Getting caught for being drunk on Halloween or spray painting on the side of an industrial warehouse is no excuse for getting kicked out of school. Kids are dumb, so educate them.

  25. i know many, and by many i mean around 10, students who have been on probation when they were in 9/10th grade for doing simply idiotic things. But have shaped up and have become model students, soon to graduate and attend prestigious colleges and universities.

    This is because the crimes they committed were drug or graffiti. Getting caught for being drunk on Halloween or spray painting on the side of an industrial warehouse is no excuse for getting kicked out of school. Kids are dumb, so educate them.

  26. how do you propose oakland and richmond schools get fixed? where would the money come from to do this? it seems like your content with dumping problems onto others than fixing them.

  27. YEAH! lets deny students access to high education! that will solve the problem of guns on campus!

  28. no ,not at all. On the contrary, half of the students in most of my classes that have above a 3.5 gpa are complete stoners, and their parents don’t smoke. There are also many students in my class who smoke weed and have terrible grades, who parents may or may not smoke weed, i don’t know. Lets not turn this into a drug use argument when thats not the issue at hand.

  29. Why would I flame you, bro?
    I agree with keeping out of district students.
    They just need to apply and go through the process to get legal.

    Same with immigration.

  30. actually they don’t, they get that statistic from an anonymous survey given to students. And i know a couple of my friends who are not gang affiliated, bubbled in that they were, we view these kinds of surveys as a joke and waste of class time. So don’t take anonymous statistics of high school students too seriously.

  31. its sad, and i know sharkey will flame me for saying this, but BHS is a lifeline for many out-of-district students. BHS is an amazing public school, compared to the alternatives. If you stop enrolling out-of-district students, legal or not, your destroying many students chance to attend a credible university, and forcing them to attend school in violent, crime ridden neighborhoods, where they are being set up to fail. So yes, BHS is taking on a social burden that is potentially deadly to its students, but BHS has benefited so many others in ways they you cannot put a price on. Flame me if you want sharkey, im ready.

  32. yes, there is an anonymous phone number. But the problem with this is even though the company that provides this service will not release any information about the caller, the person who gets arrested for having the gun will probably know who could have called. This is because only a few students could have know that that kid had a gun, and its only a matter of guessing and interrogating to find out who “snitched.” And no one wants to mess with someone who has a gun, especially if theres a good chance they will know it was you who talked.

  33. In my opinion, my statement is not wrong, it is just incorrect. The difference is a “Wrong” opinion would be a statement that is completely irrelevant. All I said was “it is believed”, I never said where I obtained my information e.g. The School Administration, BPD or a Verifiable/Legitimate Source.

  34. Wrong, Cardoza. There’s no evidence it was connected. Here’s the full
    Berkeley Police Department statement:

    “On Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at about 3:10 p.m., the City of Berkeley
    Police Department (BPD) received a call from a Berkeley High School (BHS) staff
    member. The staff member reported that a parent had shared that he/she had
    seen a young man with a possible black gun in his waistband on the western
    perimeter of the campus. BPD Officers, Sergeants and a Lieutenant arrived at
    the school within 30 seconds of the call and began doing area checks for the
    young man who had been described. A BHS Safety officer followed the subject
    at a distance and reported that he was last seen on Martin Luther King Jr.
    Way just north of Bancroft Way.”

    “BPD officers were in consistent communication and collaborated with the BHS
    principal, staff and safety officers throughout the response. BPD officers
    detained a group near the H building on the Martin Luther King Jr. Way side
    of the school campus. BPD conducted a field show up with the witness/parent
    who did not positively identify any member of the detained group. No weapon
    was found. BPD rebroadcast the description of the possible suspect and
    officers will continue to keep this individual in mind.”

  35. Don’t look now but Berkeley High Just had another Lock Down this afternoon! It is believed it was in connection to Last Friday’s Incident.

  36. Time for this blog to do an investigation on how campus crime is reported. What stays in school, what is forwarded to BPD, and what is acted on by the DA? Why did it take gun incidents for the community to start caring?

  37. I heard that BUSD/BHS has (for a couple years now) essentially been running an in-district Community Day School out of various classrooms on the BHS campus.
    Does anyone know if this is fact, and can anyone corroborate/refute this?

    (A Community Day School is what is being proposed for the Berkeley Adult School campus.
    According to a teacher there, high-risk juvenile offenders are already being bussed in on weekdays. I don’t know whether to trust what this teacher says, but I don’t know what would compel her to make this up, either.)

  38. kids getting caught with guns (according to the D.A.) and still being allowed to stay at school?

    I think you misunderstood something. Who are you quoting? From where?

    kids on probation and being in the same classroom as students with no criminal history?

    In many situations, this is a protected right, yes.

    i thought that’s what continuation high schools were designed for.

    You were mistaken.

  39. really now? kids getting caught with guns (according to the D.A.) and still being allowed to stay at school? kids on probation and being in the same classroom as students with no criminal history?

    i though that’s what continuation high schools were designed for. “mainstreaming” seem
    s inappropriate when it comes to this.

  40. had there been 4 gun-related incidents at any of our job sites by an adult who works in same, the ones responsible would be arrested and never allowed to come back.

    Which is pretty much happens to these students. You are arguing against something that doesn’t actually occur.

  41. i think probably the most glaring point in all of this:

    had there been 4 gun-related incidents at any of our job sites by an adult who works in same, the ones responsible would be arrested and never allowed to come back.

    yet, when this happens in a school, they are allowed to return? yes, kids have a right to an education (and are required by law to be in an educational institution), but how does that mean that kids who commit violence are allowed to stay in the same environment as the well-behaved kids?

    how many local employers would tolerate another adult showing off a machine gun with a full magazine clip in the company parking lot?

    let’s not even get into how many employees in that company would sue (and win) if the gun-toting employee was ever allowed back.

    on the inter-district enrollment issue, it’s not exactly working out when bad kids drag down the good school. the hope is always that the good students there will inspire and uplift the kids coming from poor-performing neighboring school districts. but it isn’t berkeley high school’s job to bear the burden of the entire alameda county educational failings. on the flip side, it isn’t oakland’s job to bear the burden of all of berkeley’s failings (berkeley trying to dump all their low-performing kids into oakland “magnet” schools). especially when you have elected school board members of all poor-performing cities boasting that their schools are indeed good enough for their city residents.
    either the oakland residents don’t believe their school board (which is obvious by the number of oakland kids crossing the border into berkeley), or the oakland school board is doing a very poor marketing job.

    it’s actually simple to just say that berkely wants the money/funding that each student represents. no matter how bad a kid is, that kid brings in several thousand dollars in state money. so oakland and richmond families are encouraged, no doubt, to send their kids to berkeley high. in this economic recession, that’s a sure-fire way to increase revenue to the berkeley school district, and there’s really no incentive to put a halt to it. even if firearms are involved.

    so kids, don’t look at it as a “they don’t care about my safety” issue. it’s all about the benjamins. your getting beat up by out-of-district students is simply a case of taking one for the team.

    but back to my original point: workplace violence for adults is not tolerated at all. for it to be excused in schools as a youthful lack of reasoning ability…well, that really shouldn’t be.

  42. What should the city/community do with them?
    Put them in a special school for at-risk youth that gives them more supervision, structure, and outreach.

  43. Oh…and for those that are less familiar with BHS let me clarify, current BHS allows relatively free access to the campus and the surrounding areas (an “open campus”. This is in contrast to the VAST majority of HS’s in America. By closing the campus students would be required to remain on campus until their day ended, and likely would be required to pass through some location that could be monitored by adults.

  44. As an alumni this isn’t complicated

    CLOSE THE CAMPUS. It should have happened a LONG time ago.

  45. So, you say that you think eliminating lawful cross registration will make Berkeley safer. Why do you think so? Won’t that make conditions worse in Alameda County by contributing towards a poorer economy and consequently higher crime? You are aware, I assume, that people cross the border into Berkeley for reasons other than just to attend BHS: if the County gets worse, so will the City.

    Since you asked, no I do not think that it is “mostly accurate” that the source of the problem is in Oakland or Richmond. Oakland and Richmond are cities that contain areas where poverty has been most thoroughly ghettoized. That ghettoization and concentrated poverty is what helps organized crime to have such influence. The causes of that ghettoization are larger than either of those cities and I think reasonably include causes found in Berkeley’s culture and public policy.

    And, since you asked, no I am not thinking of your proposals aggravating the families of unlawfully registered students, I am thinking you are well on your way to stigmatizing and harassing people who are lawfully registered and that you are well on your way to inflaming racial and economic class polarization.

  46. “picking the the fight you are will yield little change other than to ramp up bad feelings and tensions and help to precipitate violence?”

    This is laughable… I think it would lead to a loud exhale, a sense of security and relief, as well as ramp up good feelings for the kids that actually want to learn. Berkeley, literally, can’t afford to solve the problems of other school districts and neighborhoods anymore.

  47. Do you think that by trying to eliminate l”awful” and unlawful cross registrations you will somehow make Berkeley safer?

    Most definitely!

    Does it not occur to you that (a) your locating the source of the problem in Oakland and Richmond is not entirely accurate;

    is it mostly accurate then???

    (b) picking the the fight you are will yield little change other than to ramp up bad feelings and tensions and help to precipitate violence?

    You mean the people who do not belong in the district anyways and their families will come back with more of their bad behavior, guns and violence???

  48. Do you think that by trying to eliminate l”awful” and unlawful cross registrations you will somehow make Berkeley safer?

    Most definitely!

    Does it not occur to you that (a) your locating the source of the problem in Oakland and Richmond is not entirely accurate;

    is it mostly accurate then???

    (b) picking the the fight you are will yield little change other than to ramp up bad feelings and tensions and help to precipitate violence?

    You mean the people who do not belong in the district anyways and their families will come back with more of their bad behavior, guns and violence???

  49. Are you serious? Remove the criminal “at-risk” youth from BHS. And what do you suggest the school/city/community does with them? It’s way too easy to suggest to just get rid of the problem without addressing the real issues that these kids are going through! IF you only took sometime to get to know one of these “at-risk” students, you would probably realize that their families, communities (like you!) are failing them, and the only way out they see is the streets! If we really want to tackle this issue we have to find options for these kids, and isolating them isn’t the answer.

  50. And Berkeley taxpayers benefit when cross-registered students from neighboring cities do better than they would otherwise, and Berkeley taxpayers suffer when those same kids suffer.

    My 4th grader benefits when he is able to learn and his class is not disrupted by thugs….

    -“only Berkeley kids have a right to attend Berkeley schools Berkeley tax payers pay for Berkeley schools, Richmond and Oakland residents don’t if your schools are broke FIX THEM!”

    Sounds good to me. San Francisco is starting to wake up and close the loopholes over there on an estimated 30% enrollment problem.

    -” Well I’m a student (living in Berkeley) and a student from East Oakland attending Berkeley High brought a Gun to school everyday last year! Very rarely infact I’ve never heard of a student from South or West Berkeley

    bring a fire arm onto campus…

    Amen!

  51. Kids might be bringing guns to school because of the glamorous role guns have in our society, he said. (more like they are bringing them in from the O )

    -The youth, who told police he had a brother at Berkeley High, was arrested and booked on two felony counts,
    including carrying a gun near a school and intention to sell marijuana, she said.

    How is it that this guy has a brother in a Berkeley school???

    time to close that silly loophole and much of the trouble will go back home to roost.

  52. Seriously.

    They can’t keep the campus secure even though it’s within spitting distance of the BPD headquarters, so now they want to bus them over to a residential area across the city? WTF?

  53. God forbid they take kids who are never going to college off the college-prep track and try teaching them something they might be interested in that might make them more money than dealing drugs or robbing people!

  54. Eagleye17–did you or any of your friends try to tell an adult at school about this? If so, why or why not?

  55. Thank you. More voices like yours need to be heard at the school board meeting otherwise it will be a repeat of last night.

  56. Is there a mechanism through which you or other students might report the presence of the gun to school officials? Did anyone use it? If not, why not?

  57. Out of district students who play by the rules should be welcomed.

    The issue is illegal enrollments. BUSD needs to step up residency verification tests so that out-of-district students without an above-board transfer cannot enroll. These are our community standards and I expect public officials to enforce them.

  58. The meeting tonight was good but BHS- the principal, the Supt., the system – has to find a way to wrap its mind around one crucial concept that it seems to be pushing away. If it does not do that, it is doomed to failure. That concept is this: right now BHS is doing a really crappy job of handling troubled, violent, troublemaking students. Principal keeps saying what a great job the security officers are doing. NO, THEY ARE NOT DOING A GREAT JOB. IF they were doing a great job then we wouldn’t have such a mess. Maybe it is the OCI/safety officer staff’s leadership at fault, but one example – all the talk talk talk about dealing with the kids dealing drugs in the park. And then failing to do anything to deal with the kids in the park. OCI/Billy Keys/Ardarius Macdonald say how much their hands are tied, then Alameda County DA says safety officers could do a whole lot more and no, their hands are not so tied. Years of lax policy under Slemp have brought this about.

    If you think you are doing great then you are not so inclined to change. This is a law of being human.

    So now hear this Berkeley High – concerning gangs, bullying, kids getting beat up, terrible policy of punishing the victim when there is a fight, kids who are regularly terrorized by other students AT SCHOOL and outside of school, the N-word used all over, many many robberies and kids getting beat up – concerning all that and a whole lot more, YOU ARE DOING A CRAPPY JOB. Only once you realize this can you change. So why not start there. And while you are at it, the whole school could do a lot better following its own rules about responding to official complaints instead of blowing them off. Thank you to those who pointed out that all this talk is just that – talk. Where’s the beef?

  59. compare the summary of individuals criminals actions with the action and logic of principal Scuderi.

    there lies the disconnect

  60. Unfortunately, that will never happen. You expect a parent to get involved who has a son that smokes weed everyday. They don’t care, because the parents are doing it themselves. They are the ones imposing the negative influence!

  61. Well I’m a student (living in Berkeley) and a student from East Oakland attending Berkeley High brought a Gun to school everyday last year! Very rarely infact I’ve never heard of a student from South or West Berkeley bring a fire arm onto campus. At most it’s been Mace or a Knife.

  62. “I don’t buy that the only reason kids are carrying guns is for personal protection. I think there is some sort of fascination, a cultural fixation with firearms,” Scuderi said.

    Of course there is, just like any cultural taboo. You don’t have this problem in rural areas where hunting is part of the local tradition, nor 20 or 30 years ago when it was still plausible to have a high school marksmanship team. This is a direct result of our attempts to bury our heads in the sand over firearms. Even the media is functionally illiterate on the subject; I cringe when I read the breathless descriptions of a would-be criminal in possession of a SEMIAUTOMATIC weapon. C’mon.

    Problem is there’s no above-the-table exposure to firearms in our community, everything these punks learn is from the media — movies, TV and hip-hop-bust-a-cap-in-yo-ass culture. How are you going to compete with that?

  63. It’s hard to quantify this. There have been four on-campus incidents, so that is the number we are using. However, there also have been a smattering of off-campus incidents this school year. A B-Tech student brought a gun to school earlier this month. A BHS senior shot and killed a 14-year old BHS freshman in October. There was a gun incident at an Oakland high school last year and there were some BHS kids in the crowd. There are other ways guns affect school kids as well. Both Gary Ferguson and Toby Eagle, who were shot to death, had children in BUSD.

    This is from Frances Dinkelspiel. My sign in to Discus didn’t work

  64. Just got back from the meeting at BHS:

    There was forty five minutes of community outreach presentations by Huyett, Scuderi, a police captain and a minister and an hour of audience Q and A.

    Memorable moments:

    – Audience applause for this parent’s sentiment: Kids who bring guns to school aren’t bad kids, they are just afraid of getting shot by kids who bring guns to school who are bad kids.

    – This confusing exchange; A parent asks if four gun incidents in a week might be just tip of the iceberg – audience applause. Followed by Huyett’s comment that the administration is rethinking the balance of intrusive actions and personal freedoms.

    – Matt Golde, Supervising District Attorney in the Alameda County Juvenile Division. (who was not on the program) stood and delivered a summary of the violent crimes committed by BHS students that are routinely charged by his office. These crimes include armed robberies, brutal beat downs, both on campus and near campus. The stunned silence that followed spoke volumes.

    Be sure to attend the School board meeting when this is on the agenda. We need a crowd that represents our diversity.

  65. How about allowing our all our BUSD convicted juvenile felons learn a legitimate trade likes plumbing, auto repair or carpentry in their own closely monitored trade school.

  66. Unfortunately gun control won’t do much good in this situation.
    These children already aren’t supposed to have guns with the laws we have now.

  67. I completely disagree with barring *all* out of district students from BHS.
    The school just needs to be much more selective in which out of district students it accepts.
    What they need to do is stop offering enrolement to practically everyone who asks.
    Coming to BHS from another district should be a privilege and should be reserved for only the most excellent students.

  68. Frances and Tracey, you know I love Berkeleyside and am so glad you are showcasing issues such as this one in this public forum. Yet, I have to say that you could the headline of this article is way off the mark. From the responses these articles have gotten, it is clear that many of us are desperate to see the words in your headline be true — that action be taken on this issue.

    But look at theverbs used in the bullet points in this article and you’ll see the “actions” that Scuderi took. He:

    talked
    conferred
    met
    called for
    is working with
    has spoken with
    contacted

    If the issue weren’t so scarily serious, I would have almost laughed at these “actions”.

    Anyway, Frances and Tracey, I really don’t mean to be critical of you. I guess I’m just dismayed as what passes for action in such a highly dangerous situation.

  69. We know that 10 percent of the BHS population is gang affiliated. So, obviously, the school knows who they are. Their parents need to be involved here, and there need to be serious gang diversion activities.

  70. I know no one wants to hear this

    On the contrary, a few folks repeat the same old story along those lines again and again and apparently can’t get enough of it.

    these are not Berkeley kids bringing guns to Berkeley High

    I believe that that is false. I suspect it is a mix. Can you prove otherwise? Or are you just guessing?

    Stop letting out of district kids go to Berkeley schools and most if not all of our problems go away.

    I’m sorry to be blunt but this strikes me as not merely offensively ignorant but dangerously ignorant. Let us assume that the bottom line we all agree on is a desire to keep everyone, especially the kids, more safe. Do you think that by trying to eliminate lawful and unlawful cross registrations you will somehow make Berkeley safer? Does it not occur to you that (a) your locating the source of the problem in Oakland and Richmond is not entirely accurate; (b) picking the the fight you are will yield little change other than to ramp up bad feelings and tensions and help to precipitate violence?

    only Berkeley kids have a right to attend Berkeley schools Berkeley tax payers pay for Berkeley schools, Richmond and Oakland residents don’t if your schools are broke FIX THEM!

    And Berkeley taxpayers benefit when cross-registered students from neighboring cities do better than they would otherwise, and Berkeley taxpayers suffer when those same kids suffer.

    This is not to even much do more than mention your apparent ignorance of the state law and reciprocal agreements that apply here. The spectre of BHS kids with no “right” to be there has been around for decades without any of its proponents ever doing more than just propagating the rumour and innuendo. The charges that it is thinly veiled racism layered over ignorance of the law and the facts on the ground remain unchallenged. We have a serious problem at hand and we could do with less rehashing of the bogus debates of years past.

  71. I know no one wants to hear this but…these are not Berkeley kids bringing guns to Berkeley High they are Oakland and Richmond kids attending Berkeley High illegally or not (to be determined) bringing guns to school.
    Stop letting out of district kids go to Berkeley schools and most if not all of our problems go away. only Berkeley kids have a right to attend Berkeley schools Berkeley tax payers pay for Berkeley schools, Richmond
    and Oakland residents don’t if your schools are broke FIX THEM!

  72. Instead of wasting time and money on focus groups the BUSD needs to focus on the small group of juvenile criminal gang members identified by the District Attorney as being beyond intervention. The focus should be on removing that bad group of criminal juveniles illegally carrying guns from BHS. Don’t waste time dragging the 99% of good kids into focus groups with the 1% of armed juvenile criminal gang members.

  73. Remove the criminal “at risk” teenagers from BHS because they are really putting all the other students and staff at risk of permanent injury or death.

  74. “On Friday, at about 4:15 p.m., police shut down the sidewalks on Milvia Street… They found an unloaded gun and a full magazine clip in the jacket of a 17-year old who was a student at Oakland Technical High School”

    Wait.. is this the fifth gun incident this year? although this is not a BHS student, and technically, he was not on campus, it’s pretty close.