Susan Craig, Director of Student Services, BUSD

Susan Craig, Director of Student Services for BUSD, responded to our story last week which reported on remarks made by Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan about what he perceived as poor communication between the school district and the BPD. The article has generated more than 70 comments from readers to date. Craig’s comment was left on the story on May 6. Here is what she wrote:

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

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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  1. Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
    -Poet William Congreve, in The mourning bride, 1697:

    Thanks for the words of support but I have to tell you I never expected any affection from the folks at BHS so I don’t feel scorned so much as hoodwinked jabberwalked and mistreated. Many people whom I have talked to had to watch their children suffer actual physical injuries under the watch of BHS Safety Officers. I am sure “scorn” is not the word that springs to their minds.

    All we are asking is that they do their jobs.

  2. Exactly, see my latest post, yet another suggestion ti address this gross INEQUITY.

  3. Irma has been saying the same line forever, the district hired her years ago in an effort to appease PCAD. However, she continues to misrepresent facts. Both former Student Services directors told me that the largest percentage of district funds targets the lowest academic performing group. This is fairly standard in all school district when you total resource dollars spent. Irma wants it both ways, complains that too many kids of color as special ed, and complains inaccurately that they are being short changed, special ed students are protected from expulsion unless they pass the 20 suspension from class limit per year.

    Mike Smith gets closer to the stating the obvious, “it’s the parent gap”

    I had two family members visiting from France, both are teachers. Safety is taken seriously in that country, violence is frowned on, cultural assimilation encouraged, truancy abated, and any violent incident at any school would be front page news.

    In Berkeley Unified, it has always been the middle performing group receiving the least support and resources, and victims of crime are systemically discriminated against.

    BSEP funds two parent advocates, one for Latino and one for AA, try and get some help from them if your kid is white and a victim of crime, they have nothing to offer, yet we pay for them to take an adversarial position against the district on behalf of students they are fighting for.

    Maybe it is time for some equity, the district should hire an OMBUDSMEN to support families of school crime incidents.

  4. I applaud all of the disgruntled parents on this forum who won’t accept violence, bullying, victimization and second class educational standards as an acceptable (or unavoidable) status quo. I applaud you as well for strategizing on avenues of remediation. As someone who attended BHS long ago when many of the current pitfalls were the same (or even worse!), I steered my children a million miles away for that experience, but I support and commend your efforts all the same.

    Let’s teach the BUSD that “Hell knows no fury like a BHS mom scorned!”

  5. Did you read the article in the Express last week?

    It’s not the fault of the gun-carrying students:

    “Student leader Ashley Webster, a member of a newly formed
    district-wide safety committee, criticized the adults who reacted as if
    students brought weapons on campus with the intent to kill. ‘It’s not a
    Columbine incident,’ she said. ‘We have to remember that these students are
    members of our Berkeley High community. If they feel unsafe, there is a reason
    why they feel unsafe. And it’s our job at the school to make them feel safe
    when they come here. And give them opportunities — not just to throw these kids
    in jail.’”

    “Youth “don’t want to have to carry guns to school,’ [said DeVone
    Boggan, a nationally recognized expert in anti-violence programs and the
    head of Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety], addressing the Berkeley
    schools issue. ‘They’re tired. They’re worn out. They want peace. They just
    don’t know how to get it and don’t know who to ask to help them to get it.’

    It’s the community’s fault:

    “Part of the blame should be laid at the school district door, said Michael
    Smith, pastor at South Berkeley’s McGee Avenue Baptist Church and
    recreation director at the city-run Young Adult Project. ‘Much of the
    faculty at Berkeley High and much of the school board has never wanted to see
    the school as an urban high school,’ he said. ‘They wanted to see it as kind of
    a suburban high school in an urban area.’”

    It’s the fault of kids who want to go to BHS and learn and go to college:

    “Irma Parker, parent liaison at Berkeley High, has been trying to
    get grants for mentoring programs that would create healthy relationships
    between troubled students and adults. Speaking for herself and not as a school
    employee, Parker said Berkeley High’s priorities are geared toward
    college-bound students. They get special tutoring, for example, while there is
    little for those who are at risk of getting in trouble”

    So here’s my plan: In 2012, two of
    the current School Board members stand for reelection. Run good
    candidates and vote them out. In 2014, three run for reelection.
    Run good candidates and vote them out. Notice how none of the Board
    members are saying anything publicly? Guess they don’t want to be held
    responsible for the unsafe environment at BHS, and don’t want their
    non-responsive words used against them.

    And next time BUSD
    asks this property owner/voter for more money, you can bet the answer will be
    no. And if the schools fall apart, well,
    it won’t be my fault.

  6. Great but just to note that my suggestion is not mutually exclusive of these other avenues.

  7. Voxhumana,

    I think that it is odd that you make this correction without adding what the “Doctor” is for? The term “Doctor” is a convention that is often used to hank people’s chains. I, for example, have a Doctorate in Jursidprudence, but if anyone called me “Doctor” I would look around for one. My husband has a Ph. D. from Cal but prefers to be called “an Expert.”

    If you mean to insinuate that Dr. Craig deserves greater respect than she is being given in these postings, let me say that I agree. Dr. Craig deserves great respect for her work, dedication and effort. Degrees, however, are a dime a dozen here in Bezerkeley.

  8. Ginny, of course I agree with your assessment, but there is an easier why, the community can demand the city, BPD and BUSD draft an MOU agreement regarding information sharing between the local agency for the intended purpose of providing proper programming for at-risk youth and safe and healthly schools for all youth, as the legislation intends.

    Folks need to rise up and demand that school safety is a priority, and demand that all the resources the state and AG office have available be utilized to create a health campus climate.

    As I wrote on another thread yesterday, there are other avenues for accountability, I have used both with good results,

    CDE CPM audit

    2. AC Civil Grand Jury

    I would be happy to work with a group of parents to file a complaint with the grand jury in July for the next review cycle or consider how to effectively use the CPM process

  9. Heather, I also have been following your story and I am terribly impressed by you.

    We each have to act from our strengths and circumstances though. Regarding “strikes”… my son practices enough civil disobedience right here at home ;-} and my husband insists that our son to go to school.

    I have other thoughts though. For example, I am so insulted by the cruel retort by the School District that if the parents, or the police, want the information ( that my son was forced to give the school after being dragged out of class like a snitch and intimidated by the “Safety” Officers to give – because I was complaining about Nathan getting robbed – ) we can just go “subpoena IT” ( “get a judge to agree with you” – Bruce Love ) I am thinking that students should exercise their rights and refuse to talk to Safety Officers without their parents present and only offer information to the Police. Then, the SCHOOL can do what they keep insisting they are obligated to do under the Ed Code: Subpoena the Police Report. The School ( District) are mandated to suspend or expel the kids for the most serious crimes so if they blow it off they can be prosecuted or sued.

    Sure a few students may suffer but that is the Ed Code – and the all important juvenile right to privacy will be secure.

    Actually maybe this won’t work – but I am just saying, that is how they are treating us and they think they are so superior in doing so.

  10. Ginny, I’ve been following your story — I applaud you for standing up to the bullying you are encountering. It has long been my belief that a large group of parents should form a “strike” and keep a large number of kids out of school with specific and realistic demands that must be met before the students are put back in school. Loss of $$ would speak very loudly… Heck, if I still had a kid at BHS I’d be organizing a strike!

  11. BUSD and Berk City Council like committees; they’d rather people sit around and talk about what to do until the heat is off them.. then nothing ever gets implemented. There are enough committees and subcommittees to fill a Village.

  12. You know what I liked best about this? That they continue to try to skirt it by saying that “five were not on probation” rather than, out of seven, two WERE on probation.” Choice of wording is key to intent.

  13. Oops, I accidentally flagged this comment trying to hit “like.” Genius!? ;-{

  14. What I would like is to see the legal authority that justifies the distinction. NOT in the Ed Code. And some where along the line “judgement” has to be applied. That means the totallity of the facts and circumstances need to be sought out and fairly examined by someone who knows what is fair and reasonable. This is NOT happening on BHS campus. They really, really don’t “get it.” You have to stand up for your own kid the minute you find out he/she has been hurt and scream bloody murder – in a nice way of course – – the same way they treat us – like idiots. That is how it is. Until it changes.

  15. I’m trying to think of an example of a robbery without force but am having a hard time coming up with an example. Perhaps Ms. Craig could provide one for us?

  16. Why is the chief’s and director’s discussion being conducted in blog posts? These people should be working together often face-to-face; it’s not like their offices are far apart. This sounds like typical bureaucratic infighting to me.

  17. People have been calling me. I am hearing them ask me to get them organized, to keep a list of incidents, to start a website. I can’t do those things very well right now. My best energies have to go to keeping my life and my family’s lives working. I can keep my voice out there though and I think that instead of trying to organize we can talk about what actions do work most effectively.
    As loud as I have been, I have been listening too. The School Board, the District and mostly the Safety Officers and Dean McDonald at BHS are NOT GOING to change by unilateral decision. They have repeated MANY times that they believe parents can pursue the criminal charges for acts that happen on campus that they refuse to pursue. Why practically, the way things are being done, this is impossible, people do have some poser they are not exercising in the fog of what they except the school to be doing.
    If EVERYBODY told their kids to call the police the minute they were victimized on or off campus – instead of being falsely lured into the OCI office under the pretense of “school safety” the scene would change dramatically. Of course this would be very hard on the police department and very disruptive to our kids education – for a while – but the school and the school authorities would be forced to re-evaluate what they SAY is the proper conduct under the Education Code. When someone at the school tells you not to get a police report – don’t listen to them. If the Resource officer is being stonewalled by the School’s Safety Officer- go up the line inside the police department. Don’t sit on you sit on your rights. Make it your priority. Go down to the school and demand a meeting to find out what is going on and what the status of what they promised to do is exactly. Don’t be cowed. Your child has a right to be safe at this school. And by the way, it is your job as a parent.
    I, for one, did exactly this when it happened to my son and I believe that in doing so I may have spared other victims from crimes the kids that victimized my son were otherwise going to commit do to BHS’s inaction. I may embarrass my son but I know that when he grows up he will do the same for his kids. You DO have to stand up for yourselves and for what you think is right. All the complaining in the world isn’t going to take that responsibility away from you or your kids.

  18. Basel,

    NO, They absolutely know that crimes are being committed that they are not reporting and they are even stonewalling and obstructing under their the legal banner of confidentiality/privacy rules- but really to protect the troubled students, minorities, under privileged kids and/or not to get sued by any of these kids parents or ACLU either. They are interpreting “Safety” as to the safety of a students skin, blood and bones/most of the time. But other kids can do whatever they want to the innocents’ property, sense of self worth, or sense of safety, snese of justice and peace of mind. It is tragic that they don’t seem to even consider that it is a balancing act, possible under the exixting law and fair and due process. Tragic.

  19. When my son attended Willard the students were told not to ride their bicycles to school because they would be stolen.

    Start’em young

  20. 1.

    Robbery, by defintion, involves force or use of force. There is no such thing as robbery without a threat. If no threat is involved it is theft or burglary

  21. Goodkind,


    These announcements to the entering freshman and parents were the response to the Safety committee expectations that classroom theft be responded to in the same manner used in functioning schools.

    BHS policy for robbery and theft at the time should they identify the offender was to detain/release with no record of the incident. Students were losing cell phones, I-Pods and Calculators. add it up, easily over $400, obviously felony data of that magnitude would be a major problem.

    Better to tell parents, if it happens, not our problem.

    The school also refused to make public the incident reporting system designed in 2003, and included in WASC plan as one of the alleged reforms.

  22. Knowledge is power… which is why BUSD wants to keep the community in the dark. They don’t want you to see the scope of the muggings and other violence on or around campus. They want to keep you ignorant to protect their nest egg from more scrutiny and public criticism. It’s a willful abrogation of the public trust. The less we know, the fewer dots we connect, the less heat and scrutiny the administration and school board faces.

    But someone on this forum should set up a simple website for parents and victims of crime at or around BHS to report these criminal incidents. Something like “”. Reports would be anonymous to the public, but the web admin should require an email to follow up and corroborate the incidents. While not a perfect substitute for the school itself or the police dept. issuing a comprehensive list for public analysis, it would allow parents and students a chronological forum to report crime and other types of threats and bullying at BHS.

    If the East Bay Bicycle Coalition can set up a clearinghouse for reporting potholes, it seems like a web savvy BHS parent could easily do the same for crimes and bullying at BHS.

    Berkeleyside would probably cover the launch of such a website and once the kids found out about it via social media, it would be common knowledge as a potential resource for students and parents within a matter of weeks at most. Over the course of an entire school year, it could become a valuable community resource.

  23. When students enter BHS they are explicitly told that they should not bring iPods or cell phones to school because the school will not be responsible for them being lost or stolen. Think about that – Lost, or STOLEN. Think about being a 15 year old punk with something to prove. Think about your school saying you will be able to get away with stealing someone’s iPod or phone. This is your toehold, this is your school saying it is OK to be mean if you start small, that you won’t be held accountable. This is your opportunity to start bullying other kids, snatching their property, gaining the upper edge, and you know no one will stop you. This is what school culture really means. This is BUSD and BHS administration creating a school culture that promotes bullying and no, that is not putting it unfairly, that is putting it in the way that a teenager understands it. The kneebone is connected to the thigh bone. Start connecting the dots. And if you don’t like the picture that starts to emerge, think about changing some of those rules of procedure that are leading to the offensive behavior in the first place.

  24. I think the only rational response to Craig’s interpretation is to sidestep her and the rest of the BUSD ideologues. They are clearly saying that they will not report crimes to the BPD that are reported to them, and we’ve learned from this and other threads that they’ll actively work to prevent you from using whatever data they do gather (yet fail to act upon).

    So, if your kid is robbed or assaulted, don’t talk to the Safety Officers. Go straight to the Berkeley Police and file a police report. BUSD cannot prevent BPD from investigating a crime.

  25. Good God! What exactly IS a robbery without force, anyhow? Someone saying to you…”hey, if you feel like it – but no pressure – give me your money. Or not – you know, no force, dude.” Robbery is by its very nature an act of force!

    I am simply appalled that all robberies are not reported. That is incredibly irresponsible. Technically it may comply with the letter of some agreement somewhere that BUSD has, but it is NOT the act of a responsible school district who cares about its students, not just its public image and its crime statistics.

  26. Your point is well taken. REACTIVE rather than proactive security measures.

    There is a policy on bullying, adopted in 1996, my introduction to the Berkeley Way.

    In 2008 the safety committee requested a cyber bullying policy , no progress as of yet.

    This was in response to the web based threats my kid received for snitching, and the facebook page petitioning I be gang raped because of the EBX expose, link below, since I put the reporter in touch with my son and his friends.

  27. “…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.”

    Certainly the Resource Officer has access to police reports; Has BUSD ever been refused information by him?


    “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.”

    Nothing stated above is a direct response to Chief Meehan or the BPD


    ” The District has already taken action regarding some of the recommended steps including adding an additional BPD School Resource Officer at BHS on Mondays…”

    For that to make a difference, all the mayhem would have to have occurred on Mondays.


    “…providing additional training for Safety Officers..”

    If this additional training involved BPD, wouldn’t Chief Meehan be aware of it?


    “…, and focusing increased attention and support for the highest risk youth…”

    More educational resources spent trying to mainstream felons.


    “… 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.”

    Given the absolute absence of the “positive collaborative relationship” cited in the next paragraph, to whom and for what purpose would Ms Craig suggest BPD send reports.

  28. It’s laid out in the document that Laura linked to above: Look for the document titled “Update Regarding Weapons Found on the Berkeley High School Campus.” The summary:


    formed a committee
    hired a consultant
    started some focus groups
    added some safety officers and a BPD liaison
    sent 2 safety officers for conflict mediation training
    plan to send all of the safety officers to a 3 day school security guard class that meets the state requirements for this, syllabus here:
    are trying to figure out what to do with kids on probation, in foster care, homeless, or returning after being expelled
    promised to recommend changes/new policies on bullying
    set up a hotline for reporting tips about weapons on campus — voice or text
    researching anti-bullying and anti-violence programs to implement next year
    released stats about the gunslingers, including the bit that Laura picked up — surprise, 2 were on probation.

    what I find shocking is that some of this is just happening now. Seriously, there’s not a policy that addresses bullying? What’s the training of the safety officers right now and why are they just being scheduled to meet minimum state requirements? Who will provide the training? The state mandate doesn’t require that it be administered by anyone in particular.

  29. Ms. Craig may be referring to enhancements written into the Ed. Code with regard to firearms on a school campus. A robbery, under section 211 & 212 of the Penal Code is a crime regardless of location and there is no exception to that rule for schools. Perhaps she thinks/feels that a school administrator must first decide whether a crime has in fact occurred on school property prior to notifying the police. Many principals still believe that many assaults and other serious crimes on campus should be handled administratively rather than through law enforcement and the criminal courts.

  30. I have been trained by the district public relations approach to know what to look for.

    Gee, wouldn’t it be refreshing if they actually wanted to take correction action rather than managed perceptions.

    As I wrote at the time, unless Francis check with CoCo county probation and Mr Muhammad went through all the piles of paper files not entered into their database then the conclusion would likely be false.

    I like how the district statement avoids the word ARREST, as if carrying a gun to school is only a discipline issue not a felony offense.

  31. I
    appreciate the involvement of Susan Craig in this discussion. BUSD
    officials’ comments in a public space like this are very rare. However,
    there is very little content in Dr. Craig’s remarks. Can we Berkeley
    citizens please be told what exactly the BUSD is doing to reduce
    violence on the BHS the campus aside from “p
    roviding additional training”
    and ”
    increased attention and support for the highest risk youth” whatever that may mean.
    Please, District, tell us what you are doing.


    Student Data

    Finally, the Board has asked for information about the seven students

    who were in possession of firearms. Of these seven students, five were

    not on probation prior to the incident; one is in grade 12, three are in

    grade 11, one is in grade 10, and two are in grade 9. Three did not have

    3.3-1prior discipline incidents during the current school year; all are males;

    and one student is homeless.

    Staff will continue to provide regular updates to the Board on progress in

    these areas.


    Board Policy 5131.7


    None at this time


    Receive for information.

    Berkeleyside readers and Francis, our dedicated reporter, will recall that Ms Craig, board member Hemphill and the new director from AC probation dept Muhammad emphatically claimed that NONE of the kids arrested for guns on campus were currently on probation. The district is now disclosing that only 5 or the 7 were not on probation. hmm…….

    More importantly, all we are asking is the district take SERIOUSLY the supervision of high risk offenders, probation status or not, that includes kids identified by arrests and those the school system has identified with repeat discipline problems.

  33. I do think that we are owed a better explanation of how robbery is different under the Penal and Education Codes. Could be me, but I am a lawyer with criminal law experience and I have no idea what Dr. Craig is saying.

    The question is whether there are robberies that are not reported to the police and, if so, what sort of activity are they.

  34. @Berkeleyside:twitter — interesting editorial choice, promoting Craig’s comment to a new article. I understand that, as a school official and so a “newsmaker” of sorts, it makes sense to juxtapose her comments with those of Chief Meehan. And yet it seems to me that so much of the “real” story here is in the community reaction. Craig’s disappointment in the CHief’s comments pales in comparison to the outrage I see in the many, specific complaints about BUSD. And so many of those comments specifically addressed perceived shortcomings in Craig’s talking points that to repost her comments without getting her to provide additional clarification seems like a real missed opportunity.

  35. Thanks J Nicholas,

    Not only do the “good” kids lose an educational opportunity their parents pay big bucks for, but they lose the social opportunities that make teen years special, they lose trust in the adults that should be protecting them from harm, the lose confidence in the “system” that governs community agreements and they face real discrimination when the school officials step all over their rights.

    What about it folks, are those who have escaped injury ready to take a stand with those of us who have learned about how poorly this community values youth safety and change this insanity?

  36. 211. Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear. 212. The fear mentioned in Section 211 may be either: 1. The fear of an unlawful injury to the person or property of the person robbed, or of any relative of his or member of his family; or, 2. The fear of an immediate and unlawful injury to the person or property of anyone in the company of the person robbed at the time of the robbery.

    hmm… can’t seem to find the BUSD “school kids” Get Out of Jail Free exception

  37. More on the joke: “robbery” is defined in the penal code. There is no different or stricter definition given in the education code; the latter merely permits/enables an additional form of punishment for said “robbery.” Apparently its more acceptable to BUSD that the good students get “robbed” of their opportunity for an education than it is for bad students to be expelled or reported to BPD.

  38. Apparently if enough thugs surround and intimidate you into giving up your property, that’s just an “educational” robbery – I’m sure the victim feels very comforted by this distinction.

  39. I’m glad Mrs. Craig is taking the time to make a statement about this, but I’m confused about part of what she said.

    “Robberies in which there is force…”

    How can a robbery occur without force? Intimidation through threats of violence should be considered “force” and a robbery cannot occur without at least some form of implied threat.

    All robberies should be reported to BPD, and I find it a bit worrisome that the Director of Student Services should is making excuses about why some crimes are not reported to the Police.

  40. There is no denial of the BPD Chief’s remarks about BUSD not providing information about crimes. Apparently the BUSD asserts that differences between the Penal Code and the Education Code justify their conduct. However there is no reference to any particular code sections or any analysis of how those statutes support BUSD’s position. BUSD should explain in detail why they feel their conduct of not reporting crimes against students is justified under California law. If a student is robbed without weapons, but through physical intimidation and fear of violence, it is still an unlawful robbery, and must be reported to the police immediately. The mandatory reporting statute has no exception for robberies of children without weapons. BUSD’s failure to report all robberies of students is a crime.