Rabbi Yonatan Cohen and Councilmember Jesse Arreguin address a neighborhood gathering at the Beth Israel Congretation in Berkeley Wednesday evening. Photo: Tracey Taylor

[This story has been updated — see end of the article.]

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan expressed frustration at the Berkeley Unified School District last night, and in particular its lack of communication with the BPD, following a rash of crimes in a central Berkeley neighborhood, some of which were committed by students at Berkeley High School.

“We don’t get good information from the school district right now,” Chief Meehan said. “We asked them: if there was a robbery you knew about, would you call us? And they said, ‘we would not’.”

Chief Meehan added that the school district had not responded yet to a series of recommendations on security measures compiled by the BPD in the wake of a number of gun incidents on the Berkeley High campus.

Calls to BUSD Superintendent Bill Huyett were not returned at the time of going to press.

Since January there have been three strong-arm robberies, one armed robbery, one attempted burglary and one case of an arrest for prowling/possession of burglary tools in the area west of Martin Luther King Junior Way, according to police records. Four of the six cases involved juveniles.

The robberies occurred on the 2300 block of Jefferson, 2200 block of California, Channing/Roosevelt, Allston/Roosevelt and Shattuck and Allston.

Addressing a community meeting held at the Congregation Beth Israel on Bancroft Way last night, Police Officer Casimiro Pieratoni described one home robbery incident in which two Berkeley High students were caught. Two 14-year-olds stole a laptop computer from a home in a “smash and grab” robbery, Pieratoni said. It was a first offense for one of the students.

An estimated 100 people attended the gathering which was organized by District 4 Councilmember Jesse Arreguin. “There has been an increase in crime in this area,” he told Berkeleyside. “People are very concerned.”

Arreguin said he gets regular calls from residents in his district concerned about the behavior of young people in the neighborhood. “There are cases of vandalized property and bad behavior,” he said. But he stressed that it is not always possible to identify whether the youth are at BHS or other schools. “There are a lot of schools in the area,” he said, “including elementary schools and the Cal Prep Academy.”

Issues discussed at the meeting included how to help prevent and deal with robberies, the presence of beat officers, communication between the BPD to the community, the need to report suspicious behavior, the need for better lighting, gang grafitti at Strawberry Creek Park, and how to have good “situational awareness” when out walking.

Officer Pierantoni said the majority of residential burglaries happen in the daytime, and that, in 25-50% of cases, the burglars access homes through unlocked doors or open windows.

There was also a reminder that phoning 911 on a cell phone connects you to California Highway Patrol in Vallejo which then has to re-direct the emergency call. Chief Meehan advised Berkeley residents using a cell phone to call 510-981 5911 for emergency calls, as this goes directly to a dispatcher answering 911 calls. Landline calls should be made to 911, not least because the location of the caller can immediately be tracked.

UPDATE, 05.06.11: BUSD Superintendent Bill Huyett got in touch at around 5:00pm today. He said he had not been aware of any police department frustration over communication with the BUSD. “The first I knew there was a problem was when I read it on Berkeleyside,” he said. “We have a long-standing arrangement with the Berkeley Police Department and we want to fully cooperate with them,” he said.

Huyett said he understood that an attorney working for the school district had said that the district could not supply certain information about student robberies to the police. Huyett did not know the details about this possible legal point, and said he would be looking into it.

He added that he and Police Chief Meehan had agreed to sit down and figure out improved channels of communication.

He said the recommendations made by the police on campus security were under consideration, both by the school board and the safety committee that was set up in the wake of recent gun activity.  “We have already taken on board some of the recommendations — we’ve increased the number of days for the [on campus police officer], and are looking at having two instead of one, and some training is under way,” he said. These issues will take time and are being considered in ongoing discussions, 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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112 Comments

  1. Hell! I just wrote a lengthy reply and then deleted it by accident I think. Ginny, check out BAS Accountable on Google groups.  I created it to get the neighborhood involved in the Community Day School at BAS “project” of Shela Jordan and Bill Huyett. Also, I just emailed Laura to forward to you.. check with her. 

  2. Actually Maureen, the reason the district mails out the parent student handbook is the result of my attending the state audit of BUSD for compliance.

    I have succeeded in other minor issues of compliance as well.

    Your cynicism is definitely merited, I guess it is pretty ironic, many people consider my the a pessimistic critic of all things BUSD, yet I seem to suffer a deep optimistic that if we try hard enough eventually reforms will be realized.

    I know the SSC compliance stuff was not responded to by the state, but my complaint about violence prevention funding grant money being mismanaged was, the district was scheduled for an audit, but escaped scrutiny two years ago due to state fiscal crisis cutting all travel expenses.

    http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/cr/cc/

    Categorical Program Monitoring (CPM)

    It takes a lot of perseverance and perhaps with critical mass we could get BUSD back on the list for review.

  3. Mike: First of all this comment thread has become almost illegible — I have contacted Disqus to see if they can suggest a fix. Secondly, I should not have said the comments were bordering on “slander” — I apologize. In one of your comments you implied Thomas Lord was “a bag of wind” which seems to be a personal attack to me. To be honest, I would rather my energies could be devoted to reporting stories for Berkeleyside, rather than moderating comments, so my frustration showed in my previous comment addressed to you. Again, sorry. Let’s hope we can all get back to work now.

  4. I have made no references to BL/TL’s personal life, nor have I denigrated him personally.

    I stated that citing one section of the Ed. code dealing with suspensions, and waving his hand in the direction of FERPA didn’t make his case.

    I did state that I felt he didn’t have a case; that his case was just a bag of (air.)

    I did not call Mr. L/L any names, just asserted that his case was weightless.

    “(you) have gone way out of line in your pursuit of information”

    How so?

    “It’s creepy and bordering on slander.”

    On what do you base this accusation against me?

    You might want to consider Mr.L/L’s characterization of Ms Roemer’s rather mild post as “ridicule” and his suggestion that posts with which he disagrees are “ill informed garbage”

  5. I’m
    not sure that making a clear and deliberate personal attack was the
    best choice at this juncture, Thomas. The moderators are clearly paying
    close attention to these comments and have banned you in the past.

    You write about legal matters in a style of false authority, yet you lack the necessary
    background to fully understand all the relevant case law surrounding the
    issues you discuss. Reading specific legal documents is not difficult,
    but understanding all the history and other casework surrounding them
    is.

  6. I have never pretended to be an investor. I am interested in starting a business in West Berkeley. I don’t claim any legal credentials but I do point out to people interesting parts of the code and jurisprudence which is relavant to the political stances they are taking. Law is not so inaccessible and more people should learn how to read it — people sometimes take quixotic politial positions in ignorance of the law. Also, you describe yourself as a schmuck and I certainly won’t argue with you on that.

  7. I just logged into the e-mail associated with this account (I don’t use it much) to double check, and I’ve been getting Disqus notifications as recently as 11am today. I’ll try to figure out what went wrong and where the hang-up is.

    I do not reveal who I am on this site, but I also do not pretend to be a legal expert (or an expert in anything) or pretend to be an investor who just moved to Berkeley and wants to invest in manufacturing in West Berkeley. I am just an average schmuck living in Berkeley who has a pet peeve against people who pretend to be experts in fields they have no experience in and who quash discussion with useless pontificating and faux-authoritative quoting of legal statutes and declarations on the law that they simply do not have the necessary background to make.

  8. Please do not provide any more information about Thomas Lord/Bruce Love. All we are asking is that you stop talking about him and address his views instead. You do not reveal who you are either on this site, and your email is false. (We have tried to contact you by email and it bounced back.) We appreciate the discussions but not when they turn personal.

  9. What part of it was slanderous, and what parts of it were personal attacks? If you want I can provide links and more information substantiating the things I said, but I thought that linking to his resume was uncalled for.

    Thomas Lord (aka “Bruce Love”) postures himself as some sort of legal expert here in the Berkeleyside comments and blatantly lies about who he is in order to strengthen his arguments. I think readers have a right to know that he is not who he pretends to be on this site.

  10. @The_Sharkey:disqus @aac10d133ff749a5ff4b21bbe485ba54:disqus @6ee8c85733818bfd63134450222f5d35:disqus You guys have gone way out of line in your pursuit of information about Thomas Lord /Bruce Love. It’s creepy and bordering on slander. The discussion here about the issues has been fantastic. Don’t spoil it with personal attacks. We are, belatedly, deleting all the comments you have made in that vein.

  11. So, Soemone would have to take charge and my computer skills are the best, nor is my spelling. I have other strenghts though. I am going to post on the next section they creatated under “Craig Responds”

  12. Are you sure he doesn’t have any kids at Berkeley schools? I absolutely believe that he lives in Berkeley and he’s described himself as a parent both here on Berkeleyside and in other places.

    It doesn’t sound like he’s ever dealt directly with BHS, but I think he has kids that go to the schools here.

  13. There is zero point in cut and pasting ed code on this matter. The state ed code has import for BUSD the way the Geneva Conventions had import for the Bush administration. Exhaustively documented complaints of ed code violations have found their way to Sacramento. After a few years, the staff lawyer (famous for being unable to correctly spell his job title) always rules in favor of BUSD. His argument? BUSD claims they’re compliant with the ed code, therefore they must be compliant. And why would the State Dept. of Ed find a district out of compliance? That would force them to do something.

  14. No surprise to me.

    During the Slemp leadership debate here on Berkeleyside I was criticized for being too harsh in responding to TL,

    two people complained I wasn’t nice.

    Then Berkeleyside reporters became the target of TL personal attacks and he was banned, he came back as BL.

    While some might consider it perfectly reasonable for TL/BL to jump into discussion he has no personal knowledge of, has never attended a meeting at the school, or been subjected to the contempt and injustices we are exposing.

    From where I sit, all opinions are not equal, there are facts and opinions. I cannot figure out how TL can justify to himself his passion and attempts to undermine parents who have an vested interest in their children well being.

    Much less those of us burned by the district.

    Lance posted this link some time ago,

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=285175805119&v=wall

  15. Sharkey: Interesting psychological profile/analysis you are developing here of TL’s mindset and what makes him tick. The CIA could have used your skills from 2001-11. I came across this bit of TL bio which might also flesh out some of the pervious Waterloos he has faced. He seems to suffer from what I would term a “black list complex” which is akin to a general persecution complex. The more the world (or in this case other Berkeleyside commenters) seems to gang up against him and “pile on”, the more certain he probably feels that he is a lone voice of truth and rationality.

    Huh. Well, that’s me (Tom Lord). So, what can I add here for HN?
    […]
    Alas, there were political problems. The sales staff at Cygnus, especially, were displeased that the project was taking so long: they had been hoping to have GUIs to show at trade-shows mere months after I started. The famous “Tcl Wars” happened and that led to some political infighting within Cygnus. Cygnus was seeking a next round of VC funding and there was pressure to cut the Guile project from the budget. Most annoyingly, my boss at the end showed me a contract he’d negotiated to help fund Guile work and asked me to approve it. I felt that the contract had some severe problems and would need to be fixed before I could agree to it – he’d negotiated it without any input from me. The next day he signed the contract. About a week later I felt duty bound to quit (because of the contract and because of some bullshit issues about my working remotely). The demise of the Guile project at Cygnus was a profoundly unpleasant experience.

    Quitting, at that time, was a somewhat crazy step to take. We parted on less than friendly terms. I had been accustomed to job searching in the Silicon Valley, back in those days, this way: you call a few recruiters; you fax or email them your resume; you have phone calls for a few days; you get some interviews; you take your next job. The Valley was, truly, the Garden of Earthly Delights for a hacker in those boom years. This time was different. I spoke to several otherwise decent recruiters who all quickly, and to my surprise, made it clear to me that each and every one had been warned away from me by people close to Cygnus.

    Some people will tell you that the Silicon Valley elites back then did not secretly blacklist people from employment. Those people are variously mistaken or lying. Get on the wrong side of a couple of those elites and, in my experience – that was it. You’re out. The U-Haul place is down the street. On-ramp to highway 80 is over there. Get out of town. See you in the next life.

    Shortly after that I had to abandon my status as the GNU Guile maintainer (at status conveyed by the FSF, not Cygnus) for financial reasons: I was busy working out some way to keep a roof over my family’s head. The project was taken over by one of the “revoc” developers about whose work on it, during that period, I have nothing nice to say.

    [See also the back and forth comments after his little commentary by TL and another interlocutor at this link]

    http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1266032

  16. I think the first step would be to take things off of Berkeleyside and onto a site created by and for the parents of children in the BUSD that tracks information about crimes at school, legal cases, links to stories like this, etcetera.

    Something akin to the Berkeley Parents Network but with a specific focus on BUSD and an easier-to-use site architecture that includes some sort of message board where parents can create accounts and post information about what their children are experiencing at school.

    I don’t have the first clue about how to do something like that, but I imagine that there are plenty of BUSD parents who do.

  17. After reading some more about his background (turns out he developed some software friends of mine used to use all the time) I think he sees legal code as being very similar to programming code.

    In both instances he shows an extremely pedantic and narrow focus. Which, of course, is not always a bad thing. In many cases – particularly with legal matters – it can be a good thing. Unfortunately Mr. Lord has a bad habit of turning into a holier-than-thou ideologue when he disagrees with someone and seems to always act as though his opinions are facts and as though there is only one “correct” way of reading the law and that all interpretations other than his personal one are “wrong.”

  18. Hey! Thanks! I do want to help. So far being an attorney has helped me in my son’s case. But mostly it was determination and the help of other parents who have been through the same thing. I think we should get a group of us to make ourselves available for parents whose kids get victimized to counsel them on how to proceed without going completely nuts. First you are victimized by the perpetrator and then the folks at BHS have a shot at you. How can we gather and how will future parents find us?

  19. Too bad becuase he gets points for being so ernest. Just being willing to look at the Ed code should get you points. No wonder people hate us lawyers.

  20. Bruce/Thomas,

    Okay, I admit that it was a “trick question” for a guy who is not a lawyer. You have to learn how to “issue” spot. Rambling on about every tangentially applicable code section is very much like throwing paper in the air and the Bar examiners HATE that.

    Legal problems, like life, are ALWAYS fact driven and you pretty much ignored the facts I gave you , made up your own issues and had a ball being an At best you are an Ed-Code-aficionado-want-to-be.

    Please stop throwing TV terms like “et a judge to agree with you” around. The BHS Safety officers don’t even provide NAMES of students accused and Judges kind of like specificity when they issue search warrants and subpoenas. Really!

    So, we are not going to find anything to agree on and I don’t even understand your POV.

    If you want me to respond at all to you in the future you have to state your real name and qualifications. I don’t dance in the dark.

    So come out! It is safe!

  21. I think you slightly misremember. A proposal to permit “live monitoring” was rejected back in 2000 but that was separate from the question of when BUSD would share video records with BPD.

  22. BL claims ” When the cameras were introduced in 2000 they were explicitly declared
    to be not for a law enforcement purpose but instead for an “emergency”
    purpose.”

    False, the cameras are always been used for evidence collection, not live monitoring.

    I have assisted parents obtain Shattuck Ave merchants video of a lunch time or after school activity assault with injury, while the cops did their job when asked to investigate and pull the tape, the safety officers and principal refused to identify kids on the tape.

    We know of other incidents from a former dean of discipline who confiscated stolen cameras containing numerous photos of assaults, packs of kids kicking homeless folks while their down, kicking them in the head, no one investigated the crimes, because the school refused to assist.

  23. I believe that you are trying to say that the “law enforcement unit” records clause of FERPA applies here.

    FERPA, loosely paraphrased, says that that the records of a “law enforcement unit” (like the BHS security staff) can be disclosed to the police. So, why not the video in this scenario, right? It makes a kind of intuitive sense that the police should be able to see the video that campus security got, right?

    The devil is in the details. From FERPA (34 C.F.R. § 99.8), which the memo is talking about:

    (b)(1) Records of a law enforcement unit means those records, files,
    documents, and other materials that are (i) Created by a law
    enforcement unit; (ii) Created for a law enforcement purpose; and (iii)
    Maintained by the law enforcement unit.

    (2) Records of a law
    enforcement unit does not mean (i) Records created by a law enforcement
    unit for a law enforcement purpose that are maintained by a component
    of the educational agency or institution other than the law enforcement
    unit; or (ii) Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit
    exclusively for a non-law enforcement purpose, such as a disciplinary
    action or proceeding conducted by the educational agency or institution.

    When the cameras were introduced in 2000 they were explicitly declared to be not for a law enforcement purpose but instead for an “emergency” purpose. The police, fire, and school (in the initial concept, things have changed) could each access the video by school policy in an emergency. Other than that, the school and district would have exclusive access to and would protect these records for the sake of student privacy. A lot in the past 11 years is consistent with all that.

    An “emergency purpose” is not a “law enforcement purpose”. Sure, police might respond to an emergency by enforcing some law but if their only purpose was to enforce a law (there is no emergency) – then they weren’t entitled to have the video. And as well: even if no law is being broken, but the police are needed to respond to an emergency for which the video might help, by all means they watch the video! That’s the key element of the “purpose” of this video: it’s for police and fire in an “emergency”. That’s the social contract under which these things were presented to the public and its how they’ve been run.

    Not being for a law enforcement purpose, these aren’t law enforcement unit records – that FERPA exception doesn’t apply.

    BHS/BUSD could arrange to have video which *is* a law enforcement record. It wouldn’t be free or easy to transition from today’s state to that state. Meanwhile, though — in that legal hypothetical we were talking about? — BHS can’t release that video to police without a court order.

  24. I’m with you on that Sharkey. Ginny Roemer, who posted above, is a sharp attorney and a former DA. Given that her son was victimized at BHS, maybe she’d help out.

  25. For those who are interested in the educational background of Thomas Lord (AKA “Bruce Love”), I stumbled across a fairly recent version of his resume recently. He is a self-employed college dropout computer programmer with absolutely no training or expertise in legal matters.

    He talks big, and has a lot of time to waste on trying to make himself look smart on the internet, but he is not even close to the legal expert he likes to pretend he is.

  26. BL everything you suggest is so off base,Creating Safe and Drug-Free Schools: An Action Guide – September 1996

    A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n

    Information Sharing and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is FERPA?

    What is an “education record”?

    What type of information is included in an education record?

    Who controls or manages an education record?

    What is a “law enforcement unit record”?

    What is a “law enforcement unit”?

    What information can be shared from a law enforcement unit record?

    What information from an education record can be shared with
    (1) other law enforcement entities and (2) non-law enforcement
    entities?

    Does FERPA permit schools to work effectively with juvenile
    justice system agencies to address juvenile violence and delinquency?

    How can a school obtain technical assistance on FERPA?
    FERPA: Schools and Interagency Communication for Delinquency Intervention and Prevention
    FERPA@ed.gov or by calling 202-260-3887. -###-

  27. Hi Ginny,

    You think you’re crazy for responding to a pseudonym? Nah, I’m the one that’s nuts for thinking that if we go over this with some care, we might wind up with several points of agreement.

    You offered this interesting hypothetical:

    Another example, not so far to the left: Three students of a particular race***, caught on tape casing the school hallway, approach another student who has no prior relationship with the three students and questioned as to the contents of his pockets. Within seconds his iPhone 4 is yanked from his pocket by the one of the three students. One of the students happens to be a recent transfer student – transferred into the school while wanted on a BW for a conviction to a prior violent robbery. Another of the three students is arrested by the police the following day for a robbery of two different students, immediately outside the school. All three, while caught on camera and identified by the School’s Safety Officers. How do you think this turns out under the Existing BHS practice and the Districts interpretation of the Education Code? (Actually this would make a bad bar exam question, “Define the rights and liabilities of all parties.” Ugh.)

    I’ll start with the question: should the district turn over to the police information about the iPod robbery, in light of the arrest the next day? There are other questions like how did the school respond to the iPod theft in the first place and, anyway, why is a kid with that outstanding bench warrant accepted as a transfer … I’ll touch on those, too, but after:

    SHORT ANSWER:

    Police, DA, Victim Parents — if (in that scenario described above) you want that iPod robbery video record and/or the identification made by security staff, go get a judge to agree.

    If on the other hand BUSD just hands it over to be nice, they open the district to having its pants sued off.

    LONG ANSWER:

    * FERPA and state law protect “education records”

    A lot of the issues in in your scenario pertain to the school’s rights and liabilities regarding “education records” (aka “pupil records”, etc.). The federal “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act” combined with the California Education Code (as cited below) governs these records.

    * The video record is an education record

    BHS could but does not have a video system solely for law enforcement purposes.

    Instead, BHS has a video system used for general school safety and for school discipline purposes. The video is collected and maintained by school staff and is not especially separate from the school’s education records generally. The video is apparently used regularly in school disciplinary operations. Law enforcement persons don’t have direct access to or responsibility for this video.

    Consequently, disclosure of BHS video or conclusions from observing that video are subject to FERPA and state law regarding education records. The video record is an education record.

    * Identification made by school security staff is an educational record

    The school safety staff made their identification by examining the video which is an education record. Therefore, disclosure of their identification is tantamount to disclosing the primary education record itself.

    (The school safety staff have the right to disclose their direct observations of the students, but not their observations of the educational records of the students.)

    * Disclosure of those Records is Federally Limited

    Because all records considered here are educational records, FERPA applies and offers no relevant exceptions that would permit disclosure here, other than those exceptions permitted to states regarding inter-agency sharing. Absent state provisions, FERPA prohibits disclosure, so we turn to state law:

    * Disclosure is Further Limited by State Law

    Califorinia Ed. Code section 49076 is most directly relevant:

    49076. A school district is not authorized to permit access to pupil records to any person without written parental consent or underjudicial order except that:

    and it goes on to list exceptions to the blanket prohibition.

    * Disclosure to Police and Victim Parents Broadly Prohibited

    None of the exceptions in 49076 grant police or victim parents access in this case. BHS is legally prohibited from sharing the video or identifications in response to a request from the police or the parents by 49076.

    * Disclosure to a DA

    BHS is legally permitted by 49076 to share those educational records directly with the DA but only under very narrow circumstances, none of which you included as part of your scenario.

    * Disclosure Compliant with a Court Order

    BHS may (per 49076) and must disclose these records in response to valid court orders.

    * BUSD Liabilities

    The immediate short of it is that if BUSD played fast and loose with these records, they would set themselves up to lose a lot of money in lawsuits.

    The arguably more serious issue is that if BUSD starts violating FERPA, they can lose large amounts of federal funding.

    * Recourse for BPD, DA, and Victim Parents

    If the video identification is critical to prosecution of a crime, get a judge to agree and subpoena it (or relevant records generally). (Ordinarily, the student and parents whose records are sought will have a brief opportunity to attempt to quash the disclosure order.)

    [As an aside, this is something that irks me about Meehan’s comment. Either he can go ask a judge to agree BUSD should hand over certain information he’s after or he can acknowledge that he doesn’t really have a right to that information.]

    * The iPod Theft

    Your scenario provides few details for the iPod theft. I will assume that the victim reported the theft to school staff and that school staff observed the video prior to the next day’s crime. The question is, shouldn’t they have gone to the police with that video of the iPod theft (and isn’t the tragic crime of the next day a result of their failing to do so)? Right?

    In the scenario, the school learned of the iPod robbery after the fact. Any emergency that might have existed was gone. None of what is described of the video of the robbery triggers the mandatory reporting requirements associated with some crimes described in 48900 (and following). Therefore, all of what is on and learned from the videotape falls subject to FERPA and to 49076.

    In short, the district is legally prohibited from going to the police in this case, absent additional details added to the scenario.

    The victim is, of course, not prohibited from going to the police. A judge can, of course, order up the video of the robbery.

    * Possible Prior Violent Crime

    You mentioned that one of the iPod thieves is wanted on a bench warrant in connection to a violent crime.

    Let’s suppose that the district had received notice of that from a law enforcement agency in the course of business. Then (Ed. code 49079) the pupil’s teachers should probably have been informed. The teachers may not further disclose that. The DA, victim parents, and BPD don’t have any notification right here or any direct cause of action should the teachers happen to have not been informed.

    * Race

    You wrote a bunch of stuff about race but the meaning of it was unclear to me so I didn’t reply to that part.

  28. Citing the Chapter on Suspension and Expulsion and simply mentioning FERPA hardly makes your case.

    I don’t believe you have one
    , just a bag of wind.

  29. Bruce/Thomas,

    Good Morning. I am back on line to “answer” to a blogger who won’t state his qualifications or his name – so that very well be the definition of insanity…but here goes…
    It is not my job, nor my responsibility to be explaining what the law is in regards to safety for our kids at BHS. It is The School District’s and the School’s job and they have failed at that too.
    Your most interesting point, which was not made clear by Ms. Craig in her post regarding robberies, is:
    “There is some stuff they must not report. Your criticisms don’t address this relevant legal context.”
    Yes, I will take that question on. I am a lawyer with criminal law back ground and I also served as an investigator for the City of San Francisco for over a year. Still, I do not profess an expertise in Education Law. However, I have looked into this particular point and am absolutely convenient that the District and the BHS have it wrong as it is getting practiced on the ground at BHS. This is not just a legal theory either. I have evidence from my own experience, which obviously for my son’s safety, I am not gong to post in this forum. But I have been trying to beat it into the heads of even the Attorney for the School District who retorted, to me, “Well I am sure that they [Safety Officers at BHS] are doing their best.” (?)
    So, the kinds of “Robberies” that the school might be required not to report……This is actually NOT set out in the Education Code in any clear way. It is a matter of interpretation and judgment. Interpretation of the law and judgment on the facts (if one bothers to get all the facts – this is KEY- and ruinously and purposely NOT happening at BHS.) It also includes a combination of factors that include a student’s circumstances, history of crime, truancy and other “bad” acts.
    An example to the far left: a freshman, with no aggravating circumstance in his history, sitting next to a long time friend, says to the friend, “If you don’t give me a piece of paper, I will stab you with this pencil.” The teacher hears this. He/She is probably not going to call the police. She is “protected” under the Education code for using her judgment here.
    Another example, not so far to the left: Three students of a particular race***, caught on tape casing the school hallway, approach another student who has no prior relationship with the three students and questioned as to the contents of his pockets. Within seconds his iPhone 4 is yanked from his pocket by the one of the three students. One of the students happens to be a recent transfer student – transferred into the school while wanted on a BW for a conviction to a prior violent robbery. Another of the three students is arrested by the police the following day for a robbery of two different students, immediately outside the school. All three, while caught on camera and identified by the School’s Safety Officers. How do you think this turns out under the Existing BHS practice and the Districts interpretation of the Education Code? (Actually this would make a bad bar exam question, “Define the rights and liabilities of all parties.” Ugh.)
    ***Why, in the second example do I specify race? Because according to The School District’s Attorney, right down to the on the ground practices by a near all black all male BHS security team, it is key in deciding what to do about these kids under these circumstances. They don’t like the disproportionate numbers of students of one race being accused of crime. Maybe this is a fair consideration but it is not laid out in the Education Code as such. You have to go to national and regional studies to determine how these issues are affecting outcome and interpretation of the Education Code. YOU CAN’T actually use the relevant information of what is happening on the BHS campus, according to at least one School Board Member, because that would violate juvenile confidentiality (?)
    This is Also a misinterpretation of the law. But now we have left the single issue of robberies and entered a whole new world of legal misinterpretation of the California Education Code..
    Instead of having meetings to let parents speak out about their concerns and then retaliating by accusing some of those parents of slandering the school, instead of holding meetings about bullying and harassment without even addressing the school policy for complaints about bullying and harassment, instead of putting the chief Safety Officer in charge of the Safety Committee to self serving and falsely report how safety the school is….how about some self examination and reevaluation?

    Have at it Bruce/Thomas.

  30. message from:

    Leah Wilson’s
    Office Hours Office Hours Tomorrow
    May 10, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at:
    Bartlett’s Cafe
    2020 Kittredge (right by the downtown
    library)
    Berkeley, CA
    also
    Please Attend: District Forum
    Regarding State Budget
    TODAY, May 9, @ 4:00 pm
    School Board Chambers, 2134 MLK Jr. Way

    Hope to see you soon.

  31. A family tree type chart filled in with the elected and organizations that are favored by the political establishment would be very entertaining if not useful.

    Folks often say, oh, it can’t be that bad, every city has it’s corruption, nepotism and incompetence.

    I usually reply, show me a place with one party rule for over thirty years.

    The handful of supposedly moderate school board members who served in the last few decades describe their efforts as “harm reduction”, hardly reform, much less compliance.

    I have joined the ever increasing numbers of folks who do not believe in local control of education.

    School boards and Supt are not accountable to anyone, and elections are not systems for accountability.

    Follow the money.

    It would be revealing to know how many students guilty of felony offenses that Realm principal Victor Diaz stood up for. I know of a few, one of the kids was WSB, through expulsion more than once.

    If Diaz was a person of integrity and truly stood for changing kids behavior, attitudes and educational outcomes, I would be cheering and helping.

    Why is it that when AA kids fail it is described as the school failing those kids, and when white kids fail, the parents kick the kids ass.

  32. I don’t even have kids and I would put money and time behind this. BUSD’s behavior here is simply appalling.

  33. The anti-Kapor folks, and the anti-Library folks, benefited from having Lawyer friends in their midst who were willing to work for free. Finding a parent (or two, or three) of a BHS student who’s got a J.D. under their belt would really help things.

    None of my kids are old enough to go to BHS yet, but I’d like to be able to send them there when they get old enough. If you can organize a group, I’ll donate time and money to it.

  34. I have two kids at BHS. I’ve met with Huyett and Scuderi one on one and observed them in public meetings. In my mind, Huyett, whatever his resume says, was selected by the school board as the “applicant of least resistance”. Scuderi’s performance so far confirms he was promoted for his pleasant demeanor, not his appetite for reform.

    The school board calls the shots, has always called the shots. From their blind eye towards registration fraud to stonewalling the BPD; These are tacit policies endorsed by the board. Given the chain of command, what else could they be?

    The school board is elected by the same back scratching machine keeping our heavyweight council members in office (hey guys, have a piece of fruit once in a while). Cleaning up the school board is a multi year proposition.

    Yet, if a half a dozen ‘next block neighbors’ can raise the money to harass the Kapors in court, why can’t we do the same for our kids safety?

    All in favor, raise your checkbook.

  35. It’s especially funny that he refuses to use his real name given that we all know exactly who he is.

    Thomas Lord (aka “Bruce Love”) isn’t worth your time. If you play by his rules and take his incessant whining seriously he will lead you in endless ring-around-the-issue discussions until your hair turns gray. Do some Google searching through Berkeleyside’s archives for conversations with a user named “dasht” to see some examples of him engaging in this kind of discussion with the Berkeleyside moderators.

    From what I’ve heard from other users on this site, Thomas Lord eventually got so annoying and said such offensive things about Berkeleyside that they banned his account, and he then came back as “Bruce Love” and made up a fake background story so he could lie to others about who he is in order to strengthen his arguments about the West Berkeley zoning plans.

    What I don’t understand is, if Thomas Lord really hates Berkeleyside and Berkeleyside’s reporting as much as he seemed to when he was endlessly discussing the issue as “dasht”, why is he still here?

  36. Ginny,

    I am sorry that your family had such bad experiences.

    It would be interesting to get fuller statements from Meehan and Craig about what (if anything) is at dispute here.

  37. Exactly,

    I met with Huyett and the former student services director discussing all these issues including

    incident reporting during his first year in Berkeley.

  38. Bruce/Thomas,

    It takes a lot of guts to use your real name on these things and I finally decided to do so. Can’t help wonder why you are not. Still, I will concede that I was somewhat filp in my late night response to Susan but The school and the district have put me and my family through hell and this is not just an intellectual excercise for me.

    I can’t and won’t go into the details of my childs case but I can tell you that our experiece makes your comments look like you have a taste for debarte and NO experience at all regarding what is happening on the ground at the BHS campus. NONE.

    That said, I do appologize for being flip. The subject is too serious for poor behaviour on my part.

    The practice on campus is

  39. “We have a long-standing
    arrangement with the Berkeley Police Department and we want to fully
    cooperate with them,” he said. Huyett said he understood that an attorney working for the school
    district had said that the district could not supply certain information
    about student robberies to the police. Huyett did not know the details
    about this possible legal point, and said he would be looking into it.

    If he is so eager to cooperate with the police, why hasn’t he looked into the legal issues before now?

  40. My son graduated from BHS last year. I knew far too much about the common dangers at Berkeley High to feel sanguine about his attendance there. On some level, I think I held my breath for four years, until he was safely graduated and out of there. I told my son–explicitly–that should he ever be assaulted, he was to call the BPD first, then me immediately afterward. If he had the time and space to do so safely, only then should he notify the school. Understanding that I meant this direction to be taken as expected protocol, that is what he did. He had someone attack him once and jump him from behind, in the Park across from BHS. Fortunately, he wasn’t badly injured. Another time, in the same park, his cell phone was stolen from his backpack. His laptop computer would have been taken, as well, but he caught the kid trying to steal it, and yelled at him. The would-be perp dropped it. In those (and several more incidents), the Police responded immediately, and did what they could. The school did nothing, and in fact took the approach that since the crimes occurred (technically) outside the campus, it was none of their responsibility. Time and time again, my instincts as to who to advise that my son turn to for help were affirmed. Once, when I learned creditable knowledge that an attempted homicide was planned for the first day of school, I emailed everyone I knew with a child attending Berkeley High. The Berkeley Police weren’t thrilled that I had notified parents that their children might be unknowingly walking into a gunfire attack on the MLK side of campus, on the very first day of the school year. They responded by sending an unprecented number of officers to oversee the whole of the campus, all day that day. While the really obvious law enforcement presence stopped the planned killing (of an Hispanic student) that day, the roving officers spotted and halted students committing eight felony crimes that day. On another occasion, I put up posters along the common routes to school, to warn girls about sex crimes against students that were happening near there, for awhile. It is only by taking personal responsibility, and keeping everyone aware of problems as they arise, that all the students can maintain a reasonable expectation of safety while they are at school. The Safety Patrol guards are a joke, and are more likely to be found hanging out far from where the students pass, or relaxing in their cars in the parking lot.

  41. It’s just more armchair lawyering and nay-saying from a college dropout who pretends to be a legal expert.

  42. What is your educational background that gives you the authority to make declarative statements about legal matters, Mr. Lord?

  43. As I posted before the Federal Dept of Education recommends law enforcement information be maintain separately from education records specifically for school safety purposes, thus ensuring compliance with FERPA.

    Thomas Lord is back to fishing with red herrings.

  44. Hi Richard,

    Yes, this is exactly the sort of thing I’d like to see — an aggregation of facts about specific incidents. If the patterns of neglect are laid bare for all to see, accountability will follow. The school board will either manage out those who perpetuate the cover ups or the voters will boot them in the next election. Too many people have substantial assets tied up in property in this city to let it become known as the town that has pretty good schools as long as your kid can weather a few beatdowns.

    Unrelated @Berkeleyside — are you ever going to come through with reporting on illegal enrollments at BUSD?

  45. The school band will being playing “Perp and Circumstance” at graduation this June.

  46. The school band will being playing “Perp and Circumstance” at graduation this June.

  47. Mike,

    Robbery is darn straight a serious crime. BUSD treats it as such.

    And, since you asked, yes I have been robbed — at gun point no less, in one instance.

    Now, in the thread you joined, Ms. Roemer, who holds a J. D., ridiculed Ms. Craig’s statements on what I gather are legal grounds. I can’t find any support in the law for Ms. Roemer’s ridicule. How’s about we step back and ask Ms. Roemer to provide that support so we can evaluate her ridicule for validity? Or, if she can’t or if we don’t find the parituclers of her reasoning convincing, let’s take a different tack on these issues.

    Cites… well, you asked nothing specific. In general:

    The most directly applicable federal legislation is found in code like FERPA (the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act”) and the most referenced state legislation is in the California Education Code 48900..48927 (Division 4, Part 27, Chapter 6, Article 1 on “Suspension or Expulsion” which includes a relevant assertion of some reporting requirements.) Other privacy code at both levels applies as, I think it is safe to say, both Constitutions. If you would like to walk through the particulars of a case you think the school system mishandled, we can get down to which code specifically applies.

    Mike, I don’t lightly raise to “defend” BUSD. I think it is a pretty messed up district at the high school level in particular — but that’s on academic and organizational grounds (I think the “small school” system as implemented is a terrible mistake).

    But I don’t hesitate, having seen more than enough of it, to step up and challenge the kind of ill informed garbage that gets thrown at BUSD around these crime issues. If you are serious about fighting crime at BUSD, I think you need to not uncritically jump on the bandwagon of Ms. Menard and a few others — just my opinion but one we can test by challenging these critics to get down to brass tacks particulars – something they have been reluctant to do here on Berkeleyside.

  48. You make several assertions about BHS’s responibilities to report or not report, robberies and classes of robbery, without any citation of relevant code or law.

    Robbery is a serious crime.

    Perhaps you’ve never been robbed.

    ” Let’s hear some legal detail, not mis-applied generalities,”

  49. Laura, you write:

    Reports made to the police about an on campus robbery are not
    investigated fully because the school refuses to cooperate. If the
    target of the robbery does not know the offenders name and the school
    will not supply it, then the victims’ legal right to have the crime
    investigated in thwarted.

    Ms. Craig pointed out types of robbery in which the school does report to authorities. Are you accusing her of lying?

    For those cases where the district protects student privacy, are you saying that the police are just out of options — completely flummoxed — if the district declines to answer certain questions without a subpoena?

    I think it was you using the handle TizzieDish who called me a legal lightweight.

    You are guessing identity poorly.

  50. Richard,

    It seems our first goal is a large enough group of parents, flatland and hill, capable of convincing the board we are serious of real progress on school safety, otherwise the district is just waiting out the outrage of guns on campus.

    I have received a few personal emails saying the same thing. I would HOPE parents and students realize that nothing good will come from adapting to guns on campus, the kids have already adapting to a high rate of theft and robberies.

    BPD data would be a good place to start, most of the campus robberies that are reported are reported to police, they known the disposition and case closing rates are very low, because the school does not cooperate.

    This is not usual practice elsewhere, Berkeley thinks it self special, that is part of the mystique.

    I agree with you about the kids adapting, if you read the story and comments from the EBX story

    party 2 nite r u goin http://www.eastbayexpress.com/eastbay/party-2-nite-r-u-going/Content?oid=1088052

    it is apparent how social norms affects moral and values.

    Seriously folks, when I heard student leadership speak during the various board meetings, I was appalled.

    None of these kids made the simple suggestion, put the guns done, stop the violence.

    But I am sure they are all anti-war.

  51. No, the question is legal interpretation and practice for sharing information between law enforcement and schools.

    Reports made to the police about an on campus robbery are not investigated fully because the school refuses to cooperate. If the target of the robbery does not know the offenders name and the school will not supply it, then the victims’ legal right to have the crime investigated in thwarted.

    Remember the ed code sections a CDE policy analyst sent me I posted some weeks ago. I think it was you using the handle TizzieDish who called me a legal lightweight. Within those sections was references to establishing MOU between schools and law enforcement specifically to enable investigations.

    I am counting on our capable Chief and the City Manager to finally nail down the details for inter- agency agreements about information sharing. They have been talking about doing this for years.

    Berkeley likes to say they want to do early intervention, well then do it.

    Did you miss the link posted in this thread with CA legal references including legislation enabling multi-agency data sharing for at risk kids.

    Thomas have a great time combing through all the stuff, should keep you busy.

    http://dept.fvtc.edu/childprotectiontraining/ca.html

  52. Ms. Menard, the question here is the arguments put forward by Ms. Roemer. Ms Roemer ridiculed Ms. Craig allegedly on legal grounds, but she didn’t actually make any substantial legal argument in support of that ridicule.

    I’m not sure why you would distract attention from that by imagining a panel discussion which you vaguely insinuate would “be revealing”. I think the discussion at hand is already pretty revealing.

  53. Let’s start documenting incidents. This would generate a long list of incidents and how they were handled.

    The reports would document what happened, which agencies got involved and how they responded. Patterns will quickly emerge. They probably would show factually that Susan’s point #4 is an obfuscation by a BUSD employee (just an opinion).

    Facts are powerful if they are aggregated in a way that documents a pattern of behavior. The BUSD can easily spin their way out of a single incident but it would be much harder if a distinct pattern was shown.My feeling is that it would prove that BHS administration covers up incidents and lies to the BPD and the community. That is just how I feel after twenty years of experience with BHS. I would like to document it.

    I like Eric’s suggestion that Laura summarizes her experiences and her analysis. What I am suggesting could be part of that. So, is anybody interested in doing this?

    One last comment about BHS. My daughter is a freshman at BHS and getting a wonderful education. Every teacher she has is great. There are so many good things happening at BHS. My daughter (who has been robbed already) and her friends feel safe at school. I don’t think they are as safe as they think but my point is that they are not afraid to be on campus. Others experiences may vary.

  54. Hey Thomas Lord,

    How about a panel discussion with Susan Craig and several other school district student services directors including the former BUSD directors Owens and Herrick.

    Now that would be revealing……

  55. Ms. Roemer,

    You are criticizing Ms. Craig and the district for not reporting all robberies. You write:

    [hearing all this talk] just to find out that you don’t interpret “Robbery” under the Education Code as the same as “Robbery” under the Penal Code, so you aren’t even going to be reporting robberies for God’s sakes?

    That seems unfair to me. Ms. Craig said nothing about an alternative definition of robbery. Any valid criticism you have of her isn’t helped if you distort her words that way.

    State education code and federal code both compel (in some cases) and constrain (in many cases) BUSD’s responsibilities and rights to report to law enforcement. There is some stuff they must report. There is some stuff they must not report. Your criticisms don’t address this relevant legal context.

    Ms. Craig mentioned a class of robberies which are reported by policy and legal requirement. As for those not reported: Any possible reading of the state education code and federal law makes it very clear that by legislative intent at all levels there is a class of robberies which districts are expected to treat as student discipline matters, specifically not reporting to the next level of law enforcement. Your criticisms don’t acknowledge what Ms. Craig said there.

    You also haven’t acknowledged here that nothing at all restricts the right of a student victim and their parents to report a crime to BPD. School’s are compelled to respond to valid subpoena’s for information. So when there is a question about whether or not BUSD should release certain information to BPD — conflicting interpretations of the governing law perhaps — the subpoena process is there to help put those questions before a judge.

    You also wrote “Oh what a mess we would all be in! People who live under strictures of the Education Code do not live on another planet unaffected by all the other laws of the land. The Education Code does not PREEMPT the Penal Code.”

    This is beyond the pale. Nowhere did Craig state or imply that the Ed Code “PREEMPT”s the Penal Code in such ways. It is brutally unfair to ridicule Ms. Craig for holding a ridiculous position that she did not, in fact, espouse. That is analogous to asking Ms. Craig the old “When did you stop
    beating your wife?” question.

    Most ironically, you wrote:

    If you really want a collabrative relationship with law enforcement you folks have to start looking at the rules that allow you to, even require you to keep the school safe.

    Fine. Well, please lay out your theory here. Let’s hear some legal detail, not mis-applied generalities, about how you think Ms. Craig is running afoul of state and federal ed code.

    Meanwhile, I for one would like to hear the Chief explain his complaint in detail so that we can properly evaluate whether he has a point here or …. not.

  56. Richard,

    I understand.

    As to effective crime reduction frameworks,

    Officer Casimiro and the rest of the community services bureau are familiar with Berkeley Safe Neighborhood Committee recommendations for data driven problem solving organized in a systemic framework. We have been proposing the city adopt such an model for years, a pilot NCPC is attempting to get going in Beat 9&10.

    Both the Chief and City Manager are on board, there is some political slow down by the usual players.

    If you want to discuss this, look me up in the phone book.

  57. BUSD has provided the best argument yet for school vouchers. I was a parent who put thousands of volunteer hours into our schools, music program, salad bar, environmental field trips, fundraising, reading circles, safety patrols, committee work, on and on.

    If I had prior knowledge of how perverse BUSD operates and the low level of concern for the well being of my children I would never had consider my local public schools.

    As a person of modest means, I would have demanded a transfer to Albany schools based on the fact that BUSD enables persistently, dangerous school.

    Do Bill and Susan ever look at the robbery and assault data? I have helped numerous families after their child experience head trauma, concussions, jaws broken etc. Do you really think if victims politely decline the shake down, they will escape injury. That is why so many of these robberies are committed by groups, if the victim does not easily comply, the punching and kicking starts.

    Susan none of the families whose children were seriously injured were treated properly or received justice from BHS. Far from it.

  58. I understand, Richard, and I agree with (and appreciate!) your analysis. I apologize if it seemed like I was saying otherwise.

  59. Susan,
    I am so glad that you are reading these entries and responding. I have seen how hard you work and I don’t doubt your dedication to your job. ( I note that you are posting at 10pm on a Friday night – who works like that?.;-} )
    Still, instead of defending yourself and the District here, would you please just reconsider your position? You are getting bad legal advice. Our kid’s safety is at least as important as their right to confidentiality and you are just tying a Gordian knot trying to make it “legally” not so. It even sounds ridiculous. Can you imagine if the Education Code defined “gun” differently than the Penal Code defined “gun?” Oh what a mess we would all be in! People who live under strictures of the Education Code do not live on another planet unaffected by all the other laws of the land. The Education Code does not PREEMPT the Penal Code.
    All the pretense that we get about how concerned the school is about bullying and harassment just to find out that you don’t interpret “Robbery” under the Education Code as the same as “Robbery” under the Penal Code, so you aren’t even going to be reporting robberies for God’s sakes? A Robbery is the unlawful taking of property by force or threat of force. It is a serious, scary, humiliating, and intimidating crime from the victim’s point of view and if the Chief of Police can’t understand why you and the school won’t report all robberies – I would say that is ANYTHING but disappointing. Reading that the Chief of Police takes crime seriously at BHS is the first breath of oxygen I have been able to breathe since dealing with the “Safety Officer” at Berkley High last December.
    And by the way, Susan, I was in the room when you and the Attorney for the District told Police Chief Meehan and Captain Upson that the school was not going to report robberies. I don’t quite understand your disappointment in the Chief repeating it?

    If you really want a collabrative relationship with law enforcement you folks have to start looking at the rules that allow you to, even require you to keep the school safe.

  60. Susan,
    I am so glad that you are reading these entries and responding. I have seen how hard you work and I don’t doubt your dedication to your job. ( I note that you are posting at 10pm on a Friday night – who works like that?.;-} )
    Still, instead of defending yourself and the District here, would you please just reconsider your position? You are getting bad legal advice. Our kid’s safety is at least as important as their right to confidentiality and you are just tying a Gordian knot trying to make it “legally” not so. It even sounds ridiculous. Can you imagine if the Education Code defined “gun” differently than the Penal Code defined “gun?” Oh what a mess we would all be in! People who live under strictures of the Education Code do not live on another planet unaffected by all the other laws of the land. The Education Code does not PREEMPT the Penal Code.
    All the pretense that we get about how concerned the school is about bullying and harassment just to find out that you don’t interpret “Robbery” under the Education Code as the same as “Robbery” under the Penal Code, so you aren’t even going to be reporting robberies for God’s sakes? A Robbery is the unlawful taking of property by force or threat of force. It is a serious, scary, humiliating, and intimidating crime from the victim’s point of view and if the Chief of Police can’t understand why you and the school won’t report all robberies – I would say that is ANYTHING but disappointing. Reading that the Chief of Police takes crime seriously at BHS is the first breath of oxygen I have been able to breathe since dealing with the “Safety Officer” at Berkley High last December.
    And by the way, Susan, I was in the room when you and the Attorney for the District told Police Chief Meehan and Captain Upson that the school was not going to report robberies. I don’t quite understand your disappointment in the Chief repeating it?

    If you really want a collabrative relationship with law enforcement you folks have to start looking at the rules that allow you to, even require you to keep the school safe.

  61. I am trying to make a serious proposal about how we can use the noop model to reduce crime in our neighbor.

    Charles- check your facts. I just went to the noop site and there have been 139 posts this year. I get a digest every morning. Please tell me which site you were looking at.

    Szunderwook – I agree with you about Pierantoni but you miss my point. Ask him about the effectiveness of the noop group.

    Sharkey and lauramenard- In my post I was trying to explain the concept of lying for justice. The School Board and BHS administration feel that their cause is so noble that it is justifies lying to the BPD and the community.

  62. The BUSD has historically underreported crimes on campus. They have historically taken zero responsibility for students’ crimes on or off campus. I doubt the BPD is as unwilling to work with BUSD as BUSD is unwilling to work with BPD. Problems of this sort go back to the 1970’s when I was a high school student — there were problems with counselors at East Campus accepting sex in reciprocation for passing grades; students at BHS with known repeated violent offenses being pushed through to graduation; no protection for students who were violently and sexually assaulted. The distance between BPD and BUSD runs through decades, and I see no difference between what was going on in 1979 when I left the district and what is going on now. There were guns then; there are guns now. Dr. Craig, although a BUSD product, may be unaware of this rift; I can imagine, unless she was an at-risk youth, as I was, she would have had no idea what was going on back then — or that it continues today. If she were one of the lucky few who got through without realizing that many of us walked in peril every single day. This is at least a 30 years long ordeal. BUSD hasn’t changed direction since the late ’70’s and I for one, am sick of it.

    I think Dr. Craig’s vision is in the right direction; but she’s in the wrong school district to implement any change; change in the BUSD will only occur in one of two ways: A) Adults who pay taxes and parents who care will stand up in force and demand accountability or B) someone gets killed on the BHS campus. Take your pick.

    One of these will prevail.

    It has been well over a month since several incidents of guns on campus were made public; and in spite of meetings, ideas, and recommendations being shared (BPD among them), BUSD has made NO decisions in regard to a serious safety plan — following their usual format for years. See posts on BAS Accountable, an open forum regarding the Community Day School at Berkeley Adult School, on google groups as well as others that are readily available on line. BUSD has no interest in accountability or proactivity; they care about their own positions as political players.

  63. Susan regarding #4, I have worked on this issue for a number of years, and strongly believe the resistance is with BUSD. I have shared with both the current and former Supt and as well as current and former Chief of Police that many cities include student state ID # when kids are either victims or detained, these reports are forwarded to the school resource officer, SRO, with the intention of proactive support and conflict resolution since we know already that numerous fights and disturbances at school start on the weekend or after-school. Choosing to be proactive means less crisis and conflict at school and makes good sense.

    Would BUSD support this practice?

  64. Susan,

    please explain does BUSD consider strong arm robberies as by force, or does BUSD only consider robberies with a weapon by force? and is that the deciding factor which compels BUSD to mandated reporting?

    thanks

  65. I am writing to respond to several statements that Chief of Police Meehan was reported to have made.
    1. Sharing of information between BPD and BUSD works both ways. There are different laws and regulations governing the release of information from each agency to the other which creates difficulty for each agency to obtain “good information”. For example, BUSD cannot obtain a police report of any kind, including a report taken of an incident on a BUSD campus, without going through a lengthy legal process.
    2. Regarding robbery reports, I have spoken to Chief Meehan about the differences between penal code and education code requirements for robbery. Robberies in which there is force or a weapon are always reported to BPD. BUSD schools are to report all weapons, instances of serious injury, and drug sales to BPD.
    3. I was surprised by the statement that the school district had not responded yet to a series of recommendations from BPD, as the District established an Ad Hoc Safety Committee that includes the BPD Sergeant in charge of Youth Services to develop an appropriate response to the recommendations. The District has already taken action regarding some of the recommended steps including adding an additional BPD School Resource Officer at BHS on Mondays, providing additional training for Safety Officers, and focusing increased attention and support for the highest risk youth. BUSD and BPD staff are meeting next week to review a possible funding opportunity to further our collaboration to increase safety measures.
    4. Regarding the number of robberies and burglaries in the area involving juveniles since January, many arrests that take place outside of the school day are not reported to BUSD by BPD. This is another instance in which “good information” has not been shared.
    BUSD and BPD have shared a positive collaborative relationship. While I am disappointed in the comments that were made by the Chief, I am confident that we will move forward and continue to have a strong partnership to address school and community safety.
    Susan Craig, Ed.D., Director of Student Services, BUSD

  66. It goes on and on and on. How in god’s name can we get the BHS administrators in power to effectuate real change? What strategy/tactics can we pursue that might have a reasonable chance of success. BPD Police Chief Meehan’s talk of lack of information sharing with BHS is a huge indictment of BHS, but I am very pessimistic that it will lead to change at BHS. What can we do? Help!

  67. When my daughter began Berkeley High last fall, I looked forward to her experiencing the typical “big high school” experience. She had come from a very small private school and was eager to branch out and meet new people and do all the wonderful things Berkeley High can offer. Now, however, I am nauseous every day sending her to school – terrified that she will be a victim of robbery, assault, or a gunshot. This is not what she should be experiencing, nor what I, as her mother, should be fearing. When will my hard-working, diligent, ecstatic to be at Berkeley High daughter qualify as a child at risk???? When will the same concern be shown for her as is shown for the students committing these crimes? Whatever the reason they are committing these crimes is, the fact of the matter is that INNOCENT Berkeley High students are the ones being victimized! Why should they pay the price for whatever “reason” is behind this lawlessness? And I certainly don’t want her paying the price for Berkeley High school politics!

    This has to end RIGHT NOW.

  68. When I moved out west, I didn’t expect that it would be like the western movies that I watched as a kid, which always included poker games that ended in gunfights.

  69. We have suggested KEVLAR siding provided by those responsible for maintaining this ghetto zoning.

  70. Maybe we need to set aside a special bulletproofed warehouse near the outskirts of town where these kids can gamble and shoot each other to death over slights to their egos so that they aren’t doing this in residential neighborhoods and putting others at risk.

    Like a skate park, but for violent thugs instead of skateboarders.

  71. I live next to Ohlone Park, so I looked for NOOP on Yahoo Groups. I found it had only three posts so far this year, all in January. It looks like it is not as effective as it used to be.

  72. I should add that last night shots were fired on Russell St just south of California just before 11pm. Police made contact the group of 17-18 year old black males whose crap games went sour leading to the dispute and inevitable shooting, but were unable to identify the shooter.

    This is a very common event which has led to homicide and feuds between the bad boys lasting for years.

  73. THANK YOU for this article Tracey! Thank you so much for getting this side of the story on the record. And THANK YOU Chief Meehan for coming out and telling the whole community that BUSD and especially
    BHS are not keeping our kids safe as a matter of POLICY and practice. My son is just a freshman and has been victimized twice now since December. Since I have been in law enforcement for part of my legal career I was appalled at the malfeasance I witnessed by the BHS system and the deluded sense they entertain of themselves being saviors to the children who are committing these crimes. IT is nothing short of a tragedy that encourages bad behavior and even the self segregation that the school has now become known for across the country. It is so sad that these professional and well meaning people are so steeped in denial. WAKE UP School Board, Superintendent, school administrators and ESPECIALLY Dean McDonald and Billy Keys!! WAKE UP. Figure out the difference between helping the “kids at risk” and just giving them a pass until they have ramped up trouble for themselves irretrievably. You have missed the mark and are spending too much time defending yourselves for it.

  74. Eric,

    Yes, I have, in fact some cops have encouraged such over the years.

    You might already guess that I have spent a ridiculous amount of volunteer time on local media strategies with varying degrees of success, since up until now there was a media complacency and even refusal to cover many stories I provided local papers that would have exposed the patterns of administrative practice central to school safety failures years ago.

    During the news black out years of Jim Slemp I created a yahoo group on BHS School Safety, I placed in the files section many of the reports, ed codes references, and resources I used in my education process. It was never used as intended, since Slemp and his allies had succeeded in marginalizing me as a crazy parent.

    I think your idea has merit, but not sure it is the right mechanism to pressure the district to right their wrongs. One board member wrote me last night indicating she will be asking about reporting practices at the next board meeting. Good. Another board member (despite our 15 years of “friendship” ) bitched me out claiming I was putting out false info and then during the discussion on BHS safety matters he asked the Supt to provide the board the schools’ protocols for weapons on campus, the exact issue I had exposed publicly and taken up with him. Typical treatment, they have used my information for years and damned me at the same time.

    I am interested in working with a group of concerned community members and current parents, but can not afford to take the lead anymore. This is why I have such a love/hate relationship with Berkeley, it is personal, my own kids were harmed, badly, and I have payed personally for taking a stand.

    Ideas?

    I think the community needs a deep change of heart about what constitutes youth development and serious reflection about their conflicted ideas and pathologies.

    What is an at-risk kid? According to some all kids of color are at-risk, this is simply not true and rather offensive. Are teen victims of violent crime at-risk, are white kids ever at-risk? In an era of increasing pressure on community corrections to monitor juvenile offenders, what is an affordable and effective method?

    Why does the 2020 Vision avoid discussing school safety matters?
    Why do so many people fail to understand that individual behavioral is related to environmental conditions?

    One of the reasons the district avoids assigning culpability for on-campus crime is the lack of alternative programming available. We have contacted Berkeleyside reporters with some data that might help answer questions like how many out of district kids are reassigned to BHS following an expulsion review.

  75. Laura,

    Have you ever contemplated creating a wiki or even just an online FAQ as a way of circulating your insights about how to get problems with BUSD addressed? I ask because you (and some others who post regularly here) are very informed about a set of practices and procedures that are often vexingly opaque.

    However, as helpful as point responses to people like John can be, I can’t help think that you’d be even more effective if you could publish a concerned citizen’s guide to getting action from BUSD officials. I don’t mean to heap this all on you — it can be crowdsourced — but in an era when doctors and professors are all being “rated” by patients/students, it seems that the same tools could be productively employed to the tracking of performance by public officials.

    This could take any (or all) of several forms:

    * practical advice on how to get results from the Kafkaesque administration
    * scorecards for individual officials, based on their handling of multiple, specific incidents.
    * others?

    Most of us will — we hope — have few interactions (or none at all) with BUSD officials on matters like John’s, and so we don’t really know what kind of response we can and should expect. Bizarrely, it’s much easier for John to use local resources (berkeley parents network, for example) to get information about which painter to hire than it is to deal with school officials about his daughter’s safety. It seems like a great opportunity, and the collection of specific data sure would be useful come election time.

  76. The need for physical safety ought to trump the school’s need to try to keep their trouble-making students out of jail so they can boost their test stats.

    If these kids were getting more serious punishment as juveniles, and if our juvenile offender system was focused more on rehabilitation and education, they would probably be less likely to commit crimes as adults. Giving them a slap on the wrist for a serious crime like armed robbery sends the wrong message.

  77. “Officer Pierantoni monitors the group and has gotten involved. Many, many crimes have been solved by this group. ”

    BPD’s finest. If wwe could clone Officer Pierantoni 100 times, the crime rate, juvenile or otherwise in berkeley would drop to zero.

  78. The DA office has been using both diversion programs,youth court and restorative justice programs when the law allows such options.

    What about the victims who are threatened for snitching, do they have rights?

  79. The real problem is ‘white guilt’ (Google it yourself). It provides Huyett, Scuderi et al the rationale for stonewalling the BPD. And it protects Keys and his pals. If they all were judged by a color blind public, they’d be fired for either negligence or collusion.

  80. Here is a copy of the letter I sent three weeks ago, April 15. Copies went to all local elected officials, state senator and assembly member, the Berkeley Alliance board, the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Berkeley Association, BHS Safety committee, etc

    The Honorable Tom Torlakson
    State Superintendent of Public Instruction
    1430 N Street, Suite 5602
    Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

    Dear Supt. Torlakson,

    Please read attached letters from Berkeley Police Chief Meehan and the
    Berkeley Safe Neighborhood Committee regarding the crisis of guns on
    the Berkeley High School campus and the community’s desire for
    effective cooperation between law enforcement and BUSD.

    I am contacting you for support in these serious matters of school
    security after having exhausted all other avenues including BUSD Supt.
    Bill Huyett, BUSD Board of Education, and the Alameda County Supt. of
    Education Sheila Jordan and the Berkeley City Council.
    Alameda County DA Nancy O’ Malley is interested in assisting with
    the facilitation of a meeting between law enforcement and BUSD to resolve
    some of the most critical issues including the monitoring of probated
    students and the rights of victims of school crime.

    However, we are in a crisis of leadership starting with Supt. Bill
    Huyett and the BUSD Board of Education.

    I am requesting that you contact Supt. Huyett and ask him to clarify
    his position claiming BUSD is PROHIBITED from reporting on campus
    robberies to our local police dept. As advised by the CDE policy
    analyst we believe the BUSD policy is in conflict with state and
    federal laws which require school administrators report violent crime,
    specifically Part 1 crimes, to local law enforcement.

    Supt. Huyett finally agreed to meet with parents of a student robbed
    on campus last fall. This meeting occurred Tuesday, April 12. The
    parents are particularly concerned that at the time of the robbery
    school staff was not aware of the offender‘s probation status or that
    he had an outstanding bench warrant for a similar crime in an adjacent
    district. During this meeting Supt. Huyett asked his legal adviser
    attorney Dora Dome and the Student Services director Susan Craig to
    explain the district policy prohibiting the reporting of campus
    robberies to the police dept. Supt. Huyett did concede that
    student/parents /community members had the right to directly report to
    the police campus theft and robberies.

    BPD Chief of police was present in the meeting but was never invited
    to speak. Please read the attached letter from Chief Meehan requesting
    BUSD partner with law enforcement to ensure school security
    improvements are meaningful and sustained.

    In closing, please be advised that I have been actively advocating for
    district compliance with SB 187 since the 1998 law went into effect. I
    have received excellent resources and support from several CDE offices
    and staff members, including David Kopperud and Stephanie Papos. I
    have filed three UCPs with the BUSD for failures to comply with the
    provision of SB 187 Safe School Planning, with varying degrees of
    success in forcing concessions by BUSD.

    I believe this is such a serious crisis in leadership that it is
    imperative to advise the CDE of the situation.

    Please consider this request and discuss these matters directly
    with BUSD Supt. Bill Huyett.

    Sincerely,

    Laura Menard

  81. Berkeley Bear
    The School Board, the administration and many teachers are working hard to close the achievement gap between white/Asian students and Latino/ African American students. Part of the support system means keeping students out of jail and in general out of the criminal justice system. We all know that once in the system it is hard to get out. BHS is working hard to find alternative ways to dealing with illegal activity that doesn’t involve the court system. To keep the BPD and the community informed runs counter to those efforts. They are focused on what they feel the kids need, which is a good thing, but those needs often conflict with the safety needs of the community. They can’t explain it like this so they are secretive and unfortunately sometimes nasty.

    It’s as simple as that.

    When my daughter and a friend were robbed a few months ago, they were subpoenaed by the DA to testify. Both the kids and their parents felt strongly that there needed to be consequences but we also wanted the punishment to be something that helped these kids and we worked with the DA to make sure that would be the case.

  82. The crime is happening all over Berkeley, two daytime burglaries today on my street. I have been seeing a new group of teens truant hanging out on a wall near the two houses hit. I did not call it in, primarily because there is no way to report truancy.

  83. Richard,
    You say there’s a very logical reason for BHS to withhold information. What’s your opinion on what that might be? This isn’t a loaded question, I’m genuinely curious as to what you’re referring to.

  84. I am disturbed to read in this article that the school district is not working with the Berkeley police to solve crime in and around the high school. It certainly does appear to us citizens out here that BUSD is actively covering up crime and actively blocking or at best refusing to cooperate with police investigations. Just in the last few weeks we have a BUSD school board member referring to a DA’s crime report as “inflammatory” (explanation please, Ms. School Board Member?), we have the Berkeley police saying that they have heard nothing from the BUSD about their recommendations (why? is it because the BUSD has more expertise than BP? Please tell us, BUSD), and we have the police chief’s statement that the BUSD has refused to share information about crimes (what could possibly be the rationale for that?).

    I do not understand what is going on with the BUSD. I don’t understand why the BUSD is so opaque and so secretive and so uncooperative with the police and the DA. Why cannot the BUSD give us citizens an adult-level, reasonable explanation for all this obfuscation? I’m a Berkeley resident, a former and future BUSD parent, I pay small business taxes and property taxes to the city, I give money to the school endowment funds and the PTAs, I vote in favor of all new school taxes, and I voted for many of the current school board members. I think that I and all other Berkeley residents deserve some accountability from the BUSD.

  85. About three months ago my daughter was robbed after school at Grant and Allston by three BHS students. They were caught and charged. For the next month I followed up with the DA, BPD, and the head of security at BHS. The DA and the BPD were helpful and informative but BHS would tell me nothing.

    I think that there is a very logical reason why BHS withholds information from the community and the BHS.

    But I write about a very effective crime prevention group just north of us. This is the Neighbors of Ohlone Park Yahoo (noop) group. They have been around for at least ten years and have about 150 members. It is a real community with people posting about lost cats, noise at Ohlone park, etc. But a lot of posts are about crime in their area. Crimes patterns are detected early because people post. More posts establish patterns such as when, MO, descriptions. Officer Pierantoni monitors the group and has gotten involved. Many, many crimes have been solved by this group.

    I live on Addison and California, but I did not attend the meeting because I have been to so many of these meetings and there is no lasting affect. I have tried to start a group like noop south of University twice but never achieved the critical mass to make it work.

  86. BUSD teachers are simply fabulous!!! Sadly, the BUSD administration is not. The BUSD administration’s lack of cooperation with the Berkeley Police has been going on for too many years. BUSD teachers will tell you privately that they are silenced and hand-tied by their own administration when it comes to attempts to remove violent juvenile offenders out of our schools and away from our kids. Although there are systems and procedures in place to handle these situations, including suspension, expulsion, making a police report, the district attorney filing charges, juvenile court involvement, and probation….you can’t begin to access many of these systems unless BUSD will let the police know that violence has occurred, or simply assist when called upon to help in identifying the perpetrator.

    I think everyone would agree that we need our kids to be safe at school and receive a quality education. I also think we would all agree that some kids can make mistakes and can turn around. The problem is that BUSD’s political view seems to be that no matter how violent or out of control a teen gets, they don’t report to the police or cooperate with the police, because to do so would mean they might be seen as sending kids “into the system”.

    In my own family, my son was robbed last year after school (middle school) on his way walking to an after-school sponsored event. My son was robbed by a fellow student who was well known by BUSD to be a problem. In fact, he was such a problem for them that BUSD had already suspended him almost twenty times. In fact, this particular offender had been robbing middle school kids all year and NOT ONCE did BUSD tell the police about it. Their remedy after multiple suspensions for other unrelated issues was to suspend him from that particular middle school altogether, yet transfer him the very next day to another Berkeley middle school where other young kids would be his new victims. BUSD was simply passing the known danger from one of their schools to the next with no notice to police, and no warning to parents. BUSD creates new victims, rather than have the authorities and professionals intervene with known violent offenders.

    I cannot help but wonder how the administration at BUSD will spin it when they receive national scrutiny after a student is ultimately killed at Berkeley High by a student with a weapon at school (who-not-so-coincidentally is known by BUSD to be violent, and for whom they did not report or cooperate with Police). I’m sure BUSD will point the fingers at everyone else. Shame on you, BUSD administration. Good Berkeley politics doesn’t have to sacrifice our kids. Wake up!

  87. They use several simple tactics, neglect is one of them. Scuderi not responding is the beginning, next he sends you to either Billy Keys, the great obstructionist of justice or to dean MacDonald, watch the board meeting presentation on guns on campus, and tell me if you trust MacDonald’s judgment.

    Two days ago I helped a parent who was getting badly treated by both the perp’s probation officer and Keys. She had been pushed around many times, which is the second strategy, wear you down with abuse.

    I took it up the chain in both agencies. She got satisfaction eventually.
    But it took many supervisors to make it right.

    Remember as I have written before, in 2003 safety committee parents worked with the district and BPD to develop an incident reporting brochure which included steps to follow if you do not get satisfactory results, basically legal due process.

    When the young lady was sexually harassed last year, imagine if the school had such an visible reporting system, with the brochure was available on the reception desk to be used confidentially or directly.

    Community members robbed or harassed by students at lunch should not be stonewalled when they contact the school, which has been the case for years, they say it is not our problem take it to the cops.

  88. Even more importantly, after-school programs are the district responsibility.

    Last year I assisted Longfellow parents whose kids were robbed enroute to park after-school programs funded by BUSD.

    This is more than just politics, this is how BUSD has been doing business since the mid-90s.

    Those of us who have been in the trenches know exactly how malicious this is.

    I have filed several official complaints about compliance with state grant requirements that data being presented to the community. We have had to go to extreme measures to get the district to comply, this is definitely political.

  89. The citizens of Berkeley deserve better treatment from the BUSD.We have the right to expect that the BUSD will take seriously their legal obligation as mandatory reporters to immediately report suspected child abuse (including robbery) to the police. BUSD employees that intentionally refuse to report should face criminal prosecution. A mafia style code of silence in the school district is not acceptable.

  90. BTW, yes, my daughter filed the report, though I was not with her at the time. I think it went fine.

  91. Actually, she was en route from BHS to her after school BHS sports activity. (Crew).

    So:

    1. Right after school
    2. 1/2 block from campus
    3. BHS student
    4. On he way to BHS after-school sport.

    I was surprised I didn’t hear back. He was very prompt responding to an email back in September about a scheduling SNAFU, and has always been very attentive and present when talking to me.

    I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt on replying to me… I have no idea what other challenges he is facing all the time. It’s not all about me.

    But I do agree with you on the report. It’s data, pure and simple. As I said before “more data is better.

    I’ve seen allusions on berkeleyside that this is politics: suppress the number of incidents to prevent disciplinary action against the school/district. i’m not that cynical to say it’s malicious.

    Rather than trying to divine motivations, I think it’s important to focus on the deficiency: Collect the data, because it is helpful in understanding the problem.

  92. I didn’t really ask anything of him, though I hoped for a reply. I simply wanted him to get the data. So apparently, what I sent was sufficient with no followup, or it was somehow not important.

    I also told him that I thought overall he was doing a good job in a challenging situation, and I expressed my opinion that I am opposed to metal detectors and police style uniforms.

  93. john,

    the school is responsible for your child safety on the way to and from school.

    Scuderi should have responded and requested an incident report be taken.

  94. If I may, what were you asking of Scuderi? Also, did you make a report to the police (and if so, how did that go)?

  95. I emailed Principal Scuderi a few weeks ago when my daughter was robbed by another BHS student immediately after school about 1/2 a block from the campus. I never heard back.

    I’m disappointing there is not a better effort to document these crimes, as that would help point to symptoms and solutions.

    Unlike many parents here, I think Principal Sucderi is doing a good job on this issue. But I think more data is better, and I’m surprised he did not reply to an email from a parent who’s student had been robbed. Granted, it wasn’t ~on~ campus, but I think the context, especially considering the current climate would warrant a reply.

  96. re”there are other schools in the area, including elementary schools….” All of the elementary schools in the area have locked campuses-you really can’t get out or in as a kid unless accompanied by a parent signing you in or out, so i don’t think that the crime issue can be dropped there….