One of the inner courtyards at Berkeley High School

Some significant voices are missing in the 11-page report the Ad Hoc Safety Committee prepared on how to reduce guns in Berkeley high schools: that of the students.

While two Berkeley High students sat on the committee — at least until the end of the academic year — efforts to find out and understand why students brought guns into school did not go far.

Susan Craig, the director of student services for the Berkeley Unified School District, interviewed almost all of the six Berkeley students who were caught with guns and asked them why they brought weapons on campus. None of them were particularly forthcoming about their reasons, she told the safety committee.

The district also enlisted the aid of Pastor Michael McBride of BOCA, a faith-based  action committee, to hold focus groups with students to discuss guns on campus. While those conversations happened, McBride did not provide a summary of those discussions to the committee, despite repeated phone calls asking for the information by Craig and Superintendent Bill Huyett.

McBride was not paid for his efforts, but in late May the school district approved a  $15,0000 contract with Lifelines to Healing, an anti-violence mentoring program promoted by BOCA. (Note 7/1/11: McBride said BOCA will not benefit financially from this contract and is in fact, donating $10,000 to the overall project.)

A survey conducted by the safety consultant Al Bahn of Edu-Safe Associates only garnered one student response.

The result is a report that seeks to eliminate — or at least minimize — the presence of guns on the campuses, yet does not have any student insight as to why kids carry weapons in the first place.

The committee members are aware that the district has not yet heard sufficiently from students and plans to make a new effort to gather their opinions. The school board will review the report at its June 29th meeting.

“The District is concerned that the students’ voices related to guns and safety concerns have not been adequately heard,” the committee wrote in its “Next Steps” section of the safety report. The District will continue to work on receiving students’ input related to guns and safety and will explore the use of technology, including social networking, to increase communication with BUSD youth.”

One of the problems may have been the way the district was reaching out, Huyett said at the June 22 meeting of the committee. While many parents filled out online surveys, most students use Facebook more than email and were not inclined to an email request to fill out a form. The district will ask a number of key student leaders to post the survey on their Facebook pages and “invite” other students to fill it out in the hopes the survey will go viral.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

Join the Conversation

129 Comments

  1. In all fairness, REALM could result in 400 fewer students ‘over crowding’ Berkeley High. Yeah, I know, this is a max limits as students could come from out of district.  I appreciate all of you Measure AA watchdogs…

  2. I bet they emphasized district rehab over providing charter school classrooms. Too bad neither REALM nor BUSD bothered to apply for charter school construction financing through the state’s charter schools facilities program. Oh well, $5 million here, $10 million there, pretty soon your bond money is gone and you haven’t done what you promised on the ballot measure. It remains inconceivable to me that after the unfulfilled promises of Measure AA, Berkeley voters approved Measure I, which doesn’t even bother to promise completion of anything at all.

  3. Yes they approve the $$$, the Supt and board emphasized the funds were for the district’s facilities rehabilitation not specifically for Realm.

  4. You make a good point, Charles. Editorials are meant to be opinion pieces that are not necessarily “fact based” (one of Ms. O’Malley’s personas here on Berkeleyside) and do not have to be held up to the same journalistic standards as hard news.

    I think people are just angry at her for making comments here, then running away from an open discussion and going to her own website to make snarky and inaccurate comments about what was said here.

  5.  Laura,

    Did the school board approve the $5 million from Measure AA for REALM classrooms?
    Thanks.

  6. She is no longer an “objective” investigative reporter – she MAKING UP the news!!!

    Look again, and you will see that that article is an editorial. I don’t need a long wikipedia article about every aspect of journalist ethics to tell me that it is considered ethical for journalists to state their opinions in editorials.

    I disagree with Becky more often than I agree with her. But when I disagree with her, I try to use facts and arguments to show that she is wrong. 

    I think we would all do better if we dropped these personal attacks and stuck to the issues.

  7. @043efb5611b04c3aa2166bf57b5dadf7:disqus  perhaps this is something we should investigate further in. Time for some accounting fraud analysis.

  8. @043efb5611b04c3aa2166bf57b5dadf7:disqus  perhaps this is something we should investigate further in. Time for some accounting fraud analysis.

  9. Becky O’ Malley’s comments lack facts. “Factual” analysis is a meaningless term that seems to correspond to an english writer trying to grasp what quantitative analysis.

    The fact remains that O’Malley is interfering with the process she is reporting on. She is no longer an “objective” investigative reporter – she MAKING UP the news!!! Very unethical – if you have qualms about what is ethical reporting then review your ethics and standards in journalism (link conveniently provided for you)

    Berkeleyside grow a spine and stop deleting my previous comments. Ms O’Malley has made a public statement and she is accountable by name.

    It is time all of you top check yourselves: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalism_ethics_and_standards

  10. O’ Malley’s comments are not much less informed about the seriousness of the issue than the school board discussion last night. I actually went up and sat in the room to watch their faces as they performed their “duties” last night.

  11. I wouldn’t call what she does over that the Berkeley Daily Planet “reporting” even in the loosest sense of the word.

    The Berkeley Daily Planet isn’t a newspaper. It’s essentially Becky O’Malley’s blog and platform for political activism masquerading as a news website.

  12. Becky O’Malley’s article is a travesty – a “reporter” is “reporting” on blog comments on an article she wished she has written. Not only that she even interferes with the comments! How unethical!

    In the future Ms O’Malley refrain from commenting here – it is highly unethical to interfere with the subject matter you are reporting on. But then again I doubt you have the credentials to be a reporter in the first place.

  13. May be old news already somewhere else on Berkeleyside (?),  but our own  local “Katharine Graham” has struck back in her own sandbox on the BHS gun issue where no one can respond directly (but clearly Berkeleyside’s “uppity” comments’ section has become a thorn in her proverbial side – see excerpts below):
     
    Kids with Guns are Everywhere, not Just at Berkeley High
    By Becky O’Malley
    Wednesday June 29, 2011
     
    […]
     
    Online comment chains appended to stories like this one perform a valuable function, providing a spontaneous soapbox for sincere people who need to vent their hopes and fears for the safety of their children. Unfortunately, they also provide a window into the biased conclusions of poorly informed people who believe that a vehemently expressed opinion can substitute for factual analysis. 
     
    It’s a major contemporary cliché, yes, but one more time: “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.” 
     
    As far as I’ve been able to determine, no one has shown, based on real evidence, that a higher percentage of Berkeley High students carry guns than those in a matched group of similar young persons anywhere in any urban setting in California. Nevertheless, the committee report has drawn fire from a group of readers of two good summary articles on the topic published on the berkeleyside.com site. These commenters seem to believe that it’s possible for the Berkeley Unified School District to build an effective (or even literal) wall around the Berkeley High School campus to shield kids from the horrors of modern urban society. Similar comments can be found in various other online publications. 
    Some of the commenters believe that the problem is that the school admits kids from outside the district… as if kids who are bonafide Berkeley residents are not also caught up in the culture of violence.
    […]
     
    http://berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2011-06-29/article/38069?headline=Kids-with-Guns-are-Everywhere-not-Just-at-Berkeley-High

  14. The $5 million will be gone and REALM will not pay for it. Meanwhile BHS kids continue to be crowded into classrooms and hallways and shunted to portables at Washington Elementary School. I hope someone will report on what happened at tonight’s school board meeting.

  15. Measure AA could be legitimately used to renovate the West Campus, I believe – but you are right that it is a misuse of funds, because REALM is the only school that is currently planning to use the site for education. But I don’t really understand what the 5 Mil is paying for. Is that $5Mil going to be a loan to REALM? How is to be paid back? I did the math and REALM is paying 6.90/sf per year for the West Campus usage, resulting in ~$30,000 in “rental” income, or however it is being absorbed. I absolutely agree that the misuse of Measure AA funds could result in a lawsuit. There are a lot of us who are paying very close attention to these things right now. 

  16. BL/TL, that is a well-reasoned response and for once I actually agree with you. I’ve been mulling over why I have been on the “closed campus” band-wagon, and I think you’ve actually hit the proverbial nail. The problem with having such an open campus is that students and others, coming and going at random, is cause for concern in a general sense and for some of the downtown community (and surrounding neighborhood). However, whether closing the campus would effectively challenge the problem of guns on campus; well, without other safety measures, which frankly haven’t been adequately addressed, closing the campus in and of itself will be of little help. 

    The biggest problem around safety on BHS actually goes so much deeper then whether kids are munching $1 chinese food at lunch from downtown vendors. Security staff have a hands-off policy, for example, and yet the District paid for special training in disarming and detaining people in dangerous situations, however the hands-off policy renders the training moot. BUSD, for whatever reasons, has long repelled a standard Best Practices safety policy, including the detention of armed and dangerous individuals. Just as the Safety Staff refuses to wear a real uniform of any discernible type, so do their lassaiz faire attitude contribute to the problem; if they are not helping, they are hindering. Willingness to wear a uniform only confirms their attitude.  

    There is also a very real disconnect between a reality-based problem and a reality-based approach. For instance, Lifelines to Healing, which has just been funded by both City Council and the School Board as a part of the shiny new safety policies does effectively nothing around the highest-risk students’ own communities; not that a School-funded program has the facility to extend itself to the community level, but Pastor McBride has zero interest in trying to clean up the hardest, toughest neighborhoods and apparently wants to target those already in the criminal justice system, rather than meet the challenge of targeting at-risk students who haven’t quite gotten to the point of carrying guns, but who are well on their way. In addition, this program targets only black males, I supposed b/c they are known to be the ones who brought guns on campus (I don’t know this for fact); what I keep hearing, though, is that gang activity is quite high among Latino youth — so where’s the program to work with those at-risk Latino students? 

    So, would closing the campus do any good? Not really. Not if there’s no system of monitoring people coming onto the campus, visible ID’s, a truancy program that is active and engaged, a Safety Staff who look like professionals and have the capacity and orders to detain students. Not without a system that does, in fact, focus on the highest risk individuals and maintains a random search process of those individuals. 

    Are we, the adults in the community, over-reacting to the guns on campus situation we saw this year, which is what BHS students who have entered the forum discussions have said? I don’t really think so; I think that when it becomes evident that the school is failing to implement best practices in safety and security at the schools to the extent that 7 guns were actually found on campus, we have a right to concern. Not only should this not be an acceptable norm for our young people to the extent that they are so blase about it, but also that to ignore the mathematical reality would be to ignore the fact that for every one of those 7 students on campus with guns, there are exponentially more youths in that age group who are not in school, and are wandering around our community with guns, which makes our children that much less safe overall. 

    Rant over. Thanks for listening. 

     

  17. Along the “what can be done, really” notions — and your “weak ‘semi-closed’ campus” — a possibly crazy idea I entertain, at least for fair weather days, is to “take over” part of civic center park.   Have the school serve some food there.  Basically borrow it (with the city’s blessing) as a picnic area.    That let’s the kids get out and have the stink blown off them but it also puts an official, security-concerned BUSD presence out there in the park.   It takes a little bit of the wind out of the sails of economic exploitation of the open campus.   To me, it seems “tonally” good and possibly not so very hard to do well.  

  18. Bruce,

    Thank you.  This is exactly the *type* of response I assumed I’d get out of the gate.

    It also confirms something I suspected:  A closed lunch is not solely (and possibly not even primarily) intended to solve the issue of guns on campus.  It may solve some of those issues you mentioned that could not possibly be addressed by enhanced screening.  

    Whether those issues should trump quality-of-student-life from a BUSD perspective is another matter entirely.  Obviously Berkeley Police, for example, would prefer to not be responsible for 3000+ students in Downtown Berkeley.  I get that.

    Incidentally I don’t think a closed lunch without start-of-day screening upgrades would significantly impact guns incidents on campus.  I also don’t mean to imply I know the extent of the issue of guns on campus.  My only sources are news outlets, information posted to the BUSD website, and ‘blogs/forums like this one.  Maybe there is a major issue that requires a *radical* solution.  I honestly don’t pretend to know.

    It should be obvious I’m aware that screening *can* become a significant logistical problem as well, but it is tough for me to imagine a regime that could possibly require more resources than trying to feed 3000+ people.  Again, if you’re trying to crack another nut that sort of becomes irrelevant.

    I also think you’re right that there is unlikely to be ‘political will’ (or, quite frankly, taxpayer support) for doing it.

    Perhaps a weak ‘semi-closed’ system that also institutes a much smaller number of lunch periods than a close campus would require (say, 2-3 instead of 6) would ameliorate some of those other issues that crop up when 3000+ teenagers flood an area at once?  

  19. So you’re saying you knew that only 25% of all students at BHS are proficient in mathematics, and only 4% of African American students are proficient in mathematics, yet you don’t think BHS is a “failure” in any area?

    25% isn’t even a D-.
    It’s an F.

  20.  The $5 million from Measure AA for REALM has not yet been released–that was incorrect. It will be voted on tonight. If our school board votes to use our local parcel taxes for a charter school open to all, they will be inviting legal troubles. Who wants to bet REALM will be asking for BSEP money too, even though any student residing in any city can attend REALM?

  21. Greg, you’ve repeated your question several times with apparent sincerity.  If I may:

    I can only speak for myself and also give my subjective impression of what others think about your original question:  why all this talk about closing the campus?

    First, advocacy for a closed or semi-closed campus predates any of the gun issues.  (By “semi-closed” I mean that the campus would be open as a privilege, e.g., for upperclassmen.) Examples of reasons:  Some of us suspect or perceive that  the open campus policy contributes to off-campus student-on-student crime, to truancy, to shop-lifting, and so forth.   Personally, I would add that I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the result of an open campus in the form of some of the businesses that most cater to it — though perhaps I am of an over-protective sentiment towards the kids.     I would also add that although fully open campuses have successful precedent, they are exceptional and Berkeley’s has some problematic features;  a mass, all-at-once exodus and return of all students in a small, busy urban area creates a lot of inter-student and other social complexity that I have trouble believing is particularly good for learning.   Last example (and I may well be standing alone on this rationale for a closed campus): I think the reasons the campus logistically has to be open at this time include some deep BHS problems like an over-bloated catalog and ill-structured small school system.

    Second, the gun incidents embolden calls for a closed campus for more than one reason.  At one community meeting, student comments suggested that fear of strangers on campus might be one reason some bring guns (“re-screening” at lunch has logistical difficulties, too, like increasing cafeteria capacity).    Similarly, the just-off-campus scene created among students and between students and others might have something to do with why kids would bring weapons to school (recall the recent case of the guns found in the trunk of a non-student car just off campus or some of the anecdotes about students feeling like they have to run a gauntlet coming and going from campus).

    I have also heard adults call for a closed campus for a reason I do not personally agree with, by far:  a perception that the presence of younger people out and about makes downtown unpleasant or makes downtown feel somehow threatening.   (Perhaps it does have that result for some but that is not in and of itself a good reason to restrict freedom of travel and association for the entire category of high school age people.)

    I agree with at least most if not all of your take on the logistical difficulties of a closed campus.  I wonder if it would take one or two academic years to figure out how to do — and what domino effect it would have on the overall structure and culture of the school.   I think it’s not a bad idea to explore.  I don’t think there’s political will for it.

  22. Well, in that case let me apologize.  I’m sorry if my comment was not appropriate for this forum.

    I’d also like to explain what I was trying (and apparently failed) to do.  It was really just intended to be a tongue-in-cheek take on the comments made here (and the other post) that effectively said that the people who have the most visibility into, and are the most affected by, the situation don’t have a say in any resulting policies because most of them aren’t legal adults.

    Personally, I think that is a silly notion.

    Additionally, I was riffing on something I *believe* is implied (intentionally or not) by a lot of posters here; that the criminal element isn’t a small minority of the student population.

    Again, sorry if my attempt at humor was inappropriate.

  23. OK, The Sharkey.

    Not to make an assumption that you somehow think otherwise, but I was aware of the results.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this, I guess.  Personally I don’t think attempting to rate a school based on what percentage of its student body is ‘high performing’ is ‘goofy’.  Nor do I think attempting to measure how a school serves is lowest performing students is ‘goofy’.  Both have their place.  I also don’t think a school that ranks in the top 1% in the former is likely to be considered ‘failing’ because it does not register in the top 8% of the other.

    I also don’t think that the ability and willingness to close a campus for lunch is a reliable metric of administrative performance.

    I’ve done my best to try to interpret what you’ve literally said in the context (and not just discard swaths of it as non-sequitur).  If I’ve misunderstood you, fair enough.  It wasn’t for lack of effort.

    I’ll also give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you actually have some understanding of the complexity of trying to address the interaction of demographics and education, and that you’ve tried to interpret the numbers in context (and compared BHS relative similar schools).

    Maybe at the end of the day you just subscribe to the ‘2nd place is just the first loser’ philosophy and think failure to perform at the highest levels is failure period?  I don’t.  From my perspective BHS, though it does have problems, seems to also offer great opportunity.  I fully intend to send my child there when the time comes.

    Of course this has been one long tangent and not at all the question I wanted to see answered.  

    I’m still interested in hearing why the closed lunch topic continues to pop up as a feasible solution.  That is, what problem is it intended to solve and some sort of back-of-the-napkin explanation for how it might be implemented that makes it more attractive than other solutions to whatever problem(s) it is intended to address.

  24. Linda Maio spent practically nothing in the last election – which about sums up her contribution to her district’s concerns: nothing!

  25. the most egregious sense of ego is the Tom Bates Soccer Fields on Gilman St. – facilities paid on tax payer money and Tom Bates is still the mayor. last time i checked we do have one of the worst property crime rates in the nation and our budget has a shortfall… so what have you done Mr Bates that warrants these accolades?

  26. I would not like it if I were being surveilled, unless I thought things were truly dangerous.  Again, why not just do this on telegraph or Shattuck?  Because it is not consistant with the Constitution.

  27. @38817cd22783ffd040a176e412536695:disqus the dogs are already having the desired effect! I will put the full force of my tax payer money to it.

  28. As one anonymous borderline insane person to another, what us powerful special ones think, really does matter:  Right?

  29. why you complaining berkeleyside? When BHS students made their voice heard in the comments section you deleted some of their comments and the “concerned parents” flamed the students for disagreeing with them. Me thinks you is just a troll with hidden agendas.

  30. who needs right anyway?! Not these snot nosed criminals! We need security checkpoints every 20 feet. You never know where a criminal might stash a weapon on campus! We need dogs, lots of German Shepards! They worked great for the nazi’s, they’ll work great for BHS!

    I think if any of these evil little fuckers is ever caught with drugs or weapons they need to learn their lesson! We all know that the justice system these days just doesn’t do enough! Scuderi should take these criminals into his office and whip them before the police arrive, just to make sure they get the message. [/sarcasm]

    Your all powerless people arguing on the internet because you know are powerless. You think that by commenting you are going to change something, make your voice heard, etc. You’re all borderline insane pathetic people. If what you thought actually mattered, you wouldn’t be arguing on websites anonymously.

  31. The problem is with the conflicts of interest on the BUSD board and their general incompetence on program management, program evaluation, and frankly their lack of understanding on what it means to be an elected official.

  32. @westbezerkeley:disqus  you are reiterating what @ae534de759b3486805ec7a61a44bb8aa:disqus said already. The reason BUSD has this committees and brings in students and parents and what else is just good politics; the politics of cover my @$$ qualifiers… (excuse the use of French here).

  33. Why not a surveillance system – use technology with fewer officers.

    The problem with randomly “screening” people is that you will most likely not have a truly random selection system – with associated problems. K9s don’t have this problem.

  34. Use of dogs is highly compatible – the dogs don’t touch and grope you like the current Safety Officers do; they don’t power-trip like current Safety-officers do; and they don’t racially profile you either. If you have the scent of a criminal you will be caught.

    The Canadian Supreme court decided the case on its merits; there was no probably cause for searching for drugs. Note that Canada does not have issues with guns on campuses like we have here. What we have at BHS is at least 7 incidents of illegal firearm possession and a discharge of a firearm. As it was mentioned before if we only caught 7 incidents there are probably at least another 20+ students who never get caught. If we count every day that an student is bringing a gun on campus we are more likely to have 50% of school days where a gun is illegally on the premises. I see plenty of probable cause.

    Sitting around and talking about the privacy rights of a murdered student is a rather pointless.

  35. Unfortunately, Berkeley voters tend to vote for a name they know and focus their information gathering on the issues, if that. Linda Maio, for instance, is long overdue to be politically retired.

  36.  BUSD will not be able to pass another construction bond measure for the foreseeable future. Last year’s Measure I for over $200 million, which was supported by a large majority of city residents and notables, is a 50 year bond. That is an outlier in the world of school district bonds and carries a huge interest payment burden. Supporters of Measure I hornswoggled voters by claiming that the time was right because interest rates were at historic lows. Interest rates will be determined when the tranches are sold at market many years from now, not as of the ballot date. Supporters also claimed taxes would not increase. That is only because this is a 50 year bond, not a normal 30 year construction bond.

    It’s also unheard of to create a school bond measure that is not based on any needs assessment or specific project costs. Not one project is promised to be built in the Measure I ballot measure, yet Berkeley residents voted for it by a large margin.

    Right now each BUSD student carries a debt of $100,000 thanks to Measure I. That amount of debt per student is unprecedented. And this for a district with a relatively stable population. No other school district in California, and probably the entire country, carries a debt of nearly $1 billion with a student population of 9,000 and zero guarantees to build anything at all. This, of course, doesn’t include Measure H maintenance money or our BSEP money which is subject to political pressures. Witness the cut to science labs, something Mr. McBride has championed.

  37. Right On! West Bezerkeley.

    Our city governance features decades long political party patronage, empowered by city employee unions and entitled by an antique progressive agenda that strains to maintain the divide between us in order to secure, in perpetuity, the need for an incumbent’s personal advocacy.

    One example: Last election, supporters of a long term incumbent crowed they’d beat their opposition, even though he’d outspent them by multiples. Hilarious! If a cost was put on all the resources the machine provide him/her to maintain the status quo, the incumbent would be the bigger spender by far. 

    So the relevant question is not: What did the challenger spend? It’s: What will the incumbent’s victory ultimately cost us.

  38. Yes, Greg, I’m aware that you were being a condescending asshole for no particular reason. My point was that half of the things you were being condescending about were things you assumed I thought rather than views I actually expressed.

    Perhaps you should educate yourself on BHS’s actual performance, rather than Newsweek’s goofy rating system that really only focuses on the top-performing students at the schools?

    http://www.berkeley.net/uploads/SARC/SARC_2009-2010/110503_2009-10%20English_SARC_Berkeley_HS.pdf

    Please note that the math score for proficiency is only 25%, just about half of the state average. Also note that only 4% of African American students are proficient/advanced in Mathematics for their grade level.

    Also note that when US News & World Report did their ranking of High Schools, BHS did so poorly that they did not even make the list:
    https://berkeleyside-newspack.newspackstaging.com/2010/01/22/where-does-berkeley-high-rank/

  39. The Sharkey, I honestly have no clue what you’re talking about at this point.  I was being unapologetically condescending if anything.

    I wouldn’t claim to know how severe the gun issue is, or what measures would be necessary to stop it.  I just wanted to know if there was something obvious I missed in the whole ‘closed lunch’ proposal.  It doesn’t appear that there was, at least you have yet to (and don’t seem likely to) articulate it if there is.

    Hopefully you’ll understand why I might choose to sidestep your bizarre race related comment and simply reiterate that anyone who claims a public high school consistently ranked in the top 300 *nationally* by Newsweek is failing is being disingenuous or obtuse.  

    Again, there seem to be obvious problems.  Some of them likely solvable, and some probably being ignored or mishandled by the administration.  But a failing school?  Come on.

    Personally, I would have given anything to have had the opportunity to go to a school like BHS when I was a kid.

  40.  BOCA and United in Action have inordinate power in Berkeley. Mr. McBride wrote in a 12/10/09 commentary in the Berkeley Daily Planet that “In a school of 3,300, there is only one African-American male taking an AP class. One.” This was wildly inaccurate and refuted by a BHS AP science teacher.

    But $30K is a drop in the bucket of waste within BUSD. BayCES (now called National Equity Project) has a long-term contract with BUSD to the tune of $170K/yr. They are long-time champions of BHS small schools and are paid handsomely for that without ever demonstrating that the small schools are working. To the contrary, test scores show continued declines in the very student populations these consultants purport to serve (such as zero proficiency in IMP math in the small schools).

    The aforementioned BDP article by McBride was entitled “BOCA Supports REALM Public Charter School.” At the most recent school board meeting, $5 million from Measure AA bond monies was released for the construction of classrooms at the University Ave. property for REALM. That bond money was primarily for classrooms at BHS that were never built. REALM classrooms were never mentioned in the Measure AA ballot measure, nor was the transportation facility that was built with that same pot of money. Now there’s a story.

  41. Hey, great reply, Stephen!

    I still disagree with you since I err more on the side of safety than on personal freedoms of minors, but thank you for your well-written and thoughtful post.

  42. So you excuse yourself from making a ton of ASSumptions by making more ASSumptions? Cute.

    I guess in your world view the majority of African American students at BHS who are failing math just aren’t “willing/capable of taking advantage of them.” Or more likely, you just don’t know how bad BHS is doing in some areas.

    But if you’d rather see the campus start using metal detectors instead of closing the campus, why not just say so?

  43. First I have no clue who Thomas Lord is.

    Second, my pointless anecdote was just that.  The difference between the two of us is that I actually recognize my pointless anecdote was irrelevant to a discussion about closing the Berkeley High Campus.  That was the point.

    That is, the idyllic suburban/urban warzone high school setting of your youth was probably different than Berkeley today.  My $5 says it didn’t have anything like Ippuku a few blocks away.

    Do you really think Berkeley High should force (or could get away with forcing) its students to eat school and/or limited vendor supplied fare in random hallways and/or covered outdoor seating areas with all of the restaurants available within a few blocks of campus?  

    Why would anyone want to do this?  OK, why would anyone want to do this who didn’t have some *other* interest in mind (such as reducing the impact of the student population on the Downtown neighborhood)?
    You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about closing the campus.  Quite frankly, it is a ridiculous idea given the available resources that would greatly diminish the student experience while likely costing the district significantly more money than the alternative solution to the same problem (re-screening students upon reentry).

    The notion that Berkeley High is a failing school is absurd.  Does it fail many of its students? Yes, it appears so.  Is that a problem that should be addressed?  Well I think so.  But come on, you really want to conflate the two concepts?  
    Berkeley High also offers tremendous opportunities for those willing/capable of taking advantage of them.  I’m guessing in that regard it far exceeds the school of your youth.  It certainly does mine.

    I apologize for reading a plan to cut Berkeley High’s football  team into your call to put all sports under a municipal banner.  That was wrong, I guess.

    Additionally, yes,  *I* know not all vendors would need to be national fast food chains. I’m heartened to hear that you know this.  It wasn’t obvious from your post, which named only national, fast food chains.

    Look, you’re free (and seemingly have the free time!) to post as much as you want about any subject you want.  

    Maybe it is your intent to play the role of ‘internet gadfly’, at which point I’m sorry I wasted, uhh, *my* time by engaging with you.

    If that’s not intent you should probably realize you can’t expect to proffer half-baked ideas admittedly designed to run counter to the prevailing sentiments of the community (that is, designed to get a reaction) and then expect people to un-flip the ‘bozo bit’ when you walk them back.

  44. Courts have decided that searches at airports and (not surprisingly) courthouses are Constitutional.  Based on what has occurred so far, I do not think searches of students going into Berkeley High are justified.

    Use of dogs is less intrusive, but, in my opinion, not very compatible with the atmosphere you want in a place of learning.  I know you are going to say neither are guns, and I agree.  That is one of the reasons I would like to know why the guns were on campus and how they were to be used in the minds of the carriers.

    Dog searches in public schools without particularized suspicion have been rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada. http://www.mross.com/law/Publications/Email+Alerts?contentId=1305

    The closest thing to a ruling covering California that I can find quickly is the one linked at the end of this paragraph, which found insufficient justification under the circumstances for a dog search for drugs.  The situation is different here, because we are talking about weapons, not drugs, and because there clearly is something of a problem.  I suspect the U.S. Supreme Court might approve dog searches on entry as Constitutional given the weapons discovered last year, but I do not think they are justified from a policy standpoint.  Also, I don’t agree much with the present Supreme Court and I think we should minimize its opportunity to further curtail our civil liberties.  http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1210101700453359991&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

  45. While I personally think that sports should be eliminated from failing public schools (and yes, BHS is failing a LOT of students) so that they can focus on their central mission of educating students, schools that use vendors for lunches do not eliminate their sports programs in order to do so.

    My point was simply that BHS seems to be able to scare up the funds to build expensive new multi-use sports buildings, so they ought to be able to scare up funding for much less expensive single-use lunch areas.

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make when you mention students with LEGAL guns LEGALLY locked up in their trucks at your school? While guns may have been legal on YOUR campus, they are certainly not legal at Berkeley High.

    Vendors do not all have to be fast food. Fast food does not have to be unhealthy.
    You’re starting to sound an aaaaawful lot like Thomas Lord.

  46. Why not just randomly “screen” people walking down the street?  Maybe set up checkpoints. Just saying.

  47. Most of your questions can actually be answered with a single response: because it’s taxpayer money.  BUSD doesn’t care about wasting our money, it’s not coming out of their wallets.

  48. (4) Was that RFP sent out for a competitive bid?

    NO

    I requested that BUSD and the City Council ( Anderson and Moore are requested funding for McBride as well) use the RFP process they claim they do, neither agencies complied.

  49. To avoid confusion let me explicitly state my point The Sharkey:

    Any proposal that relies on cutting entire programs that are seminal components of the educational institutions of our nation in order to be economically feasible is very likely dead in the water.

    More simply, I doubt there will be popular support for swapping football for a closed lunch of fast food burgers.

  50. The Sharkey:

    Please note I did specifically say ‘educational experience’.

    Interestingly enough there are many things that are not required courses at some colleges for some majors:  Physics, Harmony and Voice Leading, Differential Equations, Drama, etc.

    I get it.  You don’t like sports.  Maybe you’re right.  Maybe they’re a waste of resources. 

     Maybe if you can get them out of Berkeley High then UC Berkeley will follow.  Then Stanford.  Then the University of Chicago.  Then MIT.  Then Harvard. Then Johns Hopkins  All these poorly run institutions will quit blowing cash on these non-essential items.  

    Then maybe we can get to the business of purging all this worthless humanities stuff too.

    You know, I went to a high school with an open lunch.  Kids openly brought guns to the school grounds (they were usually left on racks in locked trucks).  Of course that is just an anecdote that doesn’t really pertain to the topic though.

    Something tells me Taco Bell isn’t going to want to pay to scour the corners of campus to find the trash left by 3000 students eating in hallways, and that maybe a lot of parents (and students) aren’t going to be too keen on the idea of such a model.

  51. Sports are not part of an education. P.E. is not a required course in college.
    In my opinion we should follow the German model for schools and completely split sports off into a municipal system that is funded, organized, and run separately from the schools. They also use tracking, which works remarkably well. Their students are beating the hell out of ours.

    I went to a Northern California high school with a closed campus that had no special seating for students. We had a cafeteria and a gym that could hold about 20% of the student population, and the rest of us ate our lunches in halls, classrooms, out on the sports fields, and so on. When it rained, we ate indoors.

    Special facilities don’t have to be all that special, and don’t have to be all that expensive. In the schools I know of that have gone with outside vendors, the vendors are generally required to do their cooking & operations off-site, and simply bring the prepared food to campus for sale.

  52. Berkeleyside ‘editors’:

    When it comes to satire do you dislike it, not get it, or both?

    Maybe I’m a poor writer, but I thought it was pretty obvious that I was joking with the ‘arraignment’ bit.

  53. Perhaps you missed the discussion where it was explained that your participation was unwelcome.  

    This is an adult conversation, and you’re only considered an adult at your arraignment, punk.

  54. Oddly, I’m unable to reply to your post directly The Sharkey.

    First off, while things like sports, the arts, AP math and science, etc don’t have mass participation they are historically considered an integral part of a well rounded educational experience.  Whether this is an antiquated definition, or even the concept of providing something beyond ‘job training’ is antiquated, is another topic.  

    They all do currently contribute something to the desirability of the school.  I can tell you that when my child is old enough she’d be going elsewhere if any of them were cut.

    That said, I think you’re again underestimating the costs here.  I don’t think covered outdoor areas are going to cut it.  Additionally, the vendors will likely all need some facilities in which to operate (there is an efficiency advantage with a single vendor model here).  We’re talking 3000+ people here.  This is not an easy
    task.

  55. The thing is that it’s students who bring guns to school, not outsiders who sneak in during lunch. Restricting access to my school will probably make it safer in general but shouldn’t be thought of as a solution to the gun problem there. People who go to Berkeley High hate the idea of being restricted to the school for lunch, and my friends and I, at least, would probably get more involved with the discussion if the impractical idea didn’t keep getting suggested.

    I think that metal detectors placed at all the doors and gates would be a more effective and realistic solution, especially if it was presented to the students as a way to avoid having a closed campus. Like other posters have said, it would make us feel safer and even if the detectors themselves were easy to get around, that feeling of safety would reduce the number of guns brought to school.

  56. Judge bork, libraterian, JudgementDay, Heather, GPO, Captain Morgan and sharkey, and other like minded citizens,

    The CDE has advised me on the next logical step in pressuring BUSD to use best practice in school safety specifically critical incidents such as guns on campus.

    If you would like to sign on in support of this action, feel free to contact me via phone, number listed in phone book. The effort is both meaningful, simple and does not require a lot of effort or drama from us.

  57. A bit of both, actually. I am well aware of how much Berkeleyites hate chain restaurants, but this is a serious way that other schools have dealt with their inadequate facilities.

    While there are definitely still some major unresolved issues (Where do these kids eat? maybe we should spend district money building covered areas where all students could eat instead of blowing it on sports facilities that a minority of students will benefit from??) it’s something that should be considered and examined.
    Generally speaking, part of the contract of the vendors involves dealing with many of those janitorial/logistical issues so that the school doesn’t have to.

  58. Can I ask you an earnest question The Sharkey?

    I’m usually pretty good at determining when someone is using deadpan humor, even in text without ’emoticons’.  Unfortunately from the posts I’ve read I can’t yet tell with you.

    So my question:  Are you being earnest or are you making a joke at the expense of Berkeley stereotypes?

    If it is the latter, then let me tip my hat to you.  If it is the former, then let me perform a deep bow because the public debate on that would be the greatest spectacle of all time.

    That said, I think you’re not accounting for most of the logistical issues involved.  Adding more vendors would very likely increase, not decrease, the efficiency through increased footprint demands while doing nothing to address the time, janitorial, etc issues.

  59. Either I’m greatly underestimating what you would propose as a screening process or you are underestimating what serving lunch to 3000+ entails.

    My understanding is that the facilities can currently operate a maximum capacity of 500 people.  That means 6 lunch periods.

    Assuming the facilities are reasonably efficient when operating at maximum throughput you’d still likely need to schedule 45 minutes per period for service, time to eat, janitorial, etc.  That’s a 4.5 hour lunch window.  So depending on the lunch period, a student might start “lunch” anywhere between 10:30 AM and 2:15 PM.

    Of course that is a pretty big assumption.  Facilities upgrades would likely be required.

    We’ll ignore the administrative headaches of trying to schedule classes for a wide variety of students around this while avoiding political pitfalls.  Let’s instead assume that the voters will approve a bond measure for a multi-million dollar facilities upgrade. 

    Though pure speculation on my part, I would assume that Berkeley High’s cafeteria is like most and operates at a loss.  I have absolutely no clue what the utilization is now, but obviously closing lunch would increase the usage dramatically, and with it operating cost.  

    Now, I’ve made the assumption you weren’t advocating full body scans of all entering students, random pat downs, and strip searches.  Obviously that is more expensive than a more low impact system that assumes the majority of the kids aren’t crafty, determined criminals intent on sneaking weapons on to campus by any means necessary.  

    I still think under that scenario you’d end up money ahead by leaving the lunch period open and re-screening, especially when you realize the voters are unlikely to approve a bond measure for the new monstrous cafeteria AND the fence necessary to prevent these little thug’s accomplices from delivering weapons by tossing them over (or burrowing under).

  60. “The district also enlisted the aid of Pastor Michael McBride of BOCA, a faith-based  action committee, to hold focus groups with students to discuss guns on campus.”

    I don’t want “old time religion”, “catholic religion”, “jewish religion” or any religion in my kids education. The notion that this engages the community is  an insult to our cherished principal separation of church and state.

    This is yet another example of special interests jumping on the BUSD budget for financial and political gain, by proposing to do the job parents and churches should do AT HOME and on their day worship.

  61. What if the reason kids bring guns to school is racism? How would you have solved this problem already?

  62. @The_Sharkey:disqus when we state California Education Code is because we have done a lot of homework. @4bc4756914584c87a4dec57acb5cb82f:disqus man state your arguments and provide your evidence.

    Even though we all argue back and forth the most evident problem is one of local educational governance. The BUSD is an organization which has been lavishly supported by tax payer money but with little respect for data and analysis. It distributes money with little planning and evaluation of any non-academic decision is non-existent.

    This is what needs to change and then problems can start to be addressed in an evidence-based way. It is the most effective transparent and accountable way of using public funds and succeeding in their mission: to educate our kids and prepare them to be successful future taxpayers! 🙂

  63. Understanding why kids bring guns to campus is a research project that can probably done correctly by researchers in the area (most likely PhDs).

    Setting up a committee of administrators, students, and parents to tease out intricate causality arguments without appropriate data collection and data analysis techniques is just LAUGHABLE. Who set this one up? Supt Huyett. LAUGHABLE!

  64. @a85003bc2b02c07b932ff96bcbff978e:disqus
    Let’s accept an even more basic fact: possession of an illegal (aka stolen) firearm is a CRIME, a felony. Bringing it to school is a secondary CRIME.

  65. I am with Sarah on this. If Pastor McBride cannot manage to deliver a simple report after serving as an important intersection between the committee and the students, he will surely not be able to fulfill a contract. Get out while the getting is good. BUSD has enough trouble with lack of accountability. You do not need one more case of it.

  66. @013d0bad650b3b5c99b4c80d63e99f40:disqus Thank you for reporting on the McBride controversy – I believe the BUSD has erred in distributing public funds to this organization that has no public evidence of success (esp. for an evidence-based organization).

  67.  Elly that is a noble offer.  BHS is the problem hence cannot be neutral. The neighbors are victims of the BHS and BUSD. What perspective do you want us to gain? That the school brings crime to our door?

  68. I propose mandatory conscription for students who bring guns on campus. Why not promote their love for guns and violence by sending them in the ultimate place to learn in a structured and nurturing environment: the US military!

  69. we would love to hear your opinions. It is however rather disconcerting when you are demanding that people come up to solutions way beyond their pay-grade (how much is Huyett getting paid?) or financial resources (BUSD’s millions). If the BUSD paid me my $500/h rate I’ll come up with solutions to their gun problem.

    But for now all I can offer is criticism of BUSD’s incompetence and the way they contact themselves in public.

  70. I agree with @yahoo-MYE33I4TTQKWXST7YHLXWAM57Y:disqus . What is the point of questioning WHY someone is a criminal? What is
    the BUSD going to do about it? Change their life conditions? STOP
    BABYING THESE KIDS!

    CRIME IS A CHOICE. You either do it or you don’t. There is no in
    between. Just like a bullet flying through the wall has not
    discriminatory sense of who it will hit/kill. Either you get hit or you
    don’t.

    Possession of stolen firearms is illegal whether you are on campus or
    not. These kids are criminals the moment they walk out of their homes.
    They just need to be stopped at the gates.

    The most effective way to screen them is with K9s units standing at the
    entrances – they can catch guns and drugs and threatening behavior or
    bullying like no metal detector or safety officer could. Plus dogs trained in Shutzhund can be a serious deterrent to criminal activity.

    I urge BUSD to take the step and be the first K9-team-monitored campus.

  71. BUSD’s approval for the LIFELINES to Healing Program is HIGHLY PROBLEMATIC:

    Beatriz Leyva-Cutler has a direct conflict of interest in supporting BOCA through her extra-curricular (outside the scope of BUSD) affiliation with Pastor McBride. It almost seems that her faith and race is being used to appropriate funds rather than having anything to do with PROVEN EFFECTIVENESS.
    [http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2011-06-15/article/37997?headline=Supporters-of-Retired-Pastor-George-Crespin-at-Berkeley-s-St.-Joseph-the-Worker-Church-Asked-to-Gather-at-Sunday-Masses-Letter-]

    Beatriz Leyva-Cutler with Leah Wilson sponsored the proposal of spending money with the LIFELINE project:
    [http://www.berkeley.net/uploads/school_board/2011spring/06-08-11_minutes.pdf]
    {
    3.3-A
    Approval of Proposal to Collaborate with the City and Community Based
    Organizations to Support the Lifelines Program
    Director Wilson believes this aligns with BHS’s proposal for a Dean of Attendance.  She expressed interest in supporting the program, but wants to make sure the services are incorporated into the needs at BHS
    in regards to attendance.  She would like it to be fully integrated with our programs dealing with truancy and at risk students instead of a boutique program on the side.  Michael McBride stated they are excited about
    working with the school district to increase school attendance.  The police chief is also interested in working with us and to look at best practices of other cities that are having success in reducing truancy. 
    Director Hemphill questioned the portion of the proposal that spoke  about sharing data from the police department.  She also suggested using the model established in San Francisco Unified to decrease
    truancy.  Some work needs to be done to clarify what information is allowed to be shared across agencies.  A plan will come back to the Board in the fall.
    Hemphill/Wilson and approved unanimously 5-0
    }

    The BOCA site claims that LIFELINES to HEALING is an evidence-based, data-driven, violence reduction and opportunity creation strategy designed to address pervasive violence and drug dealing in neighborhoods and communities”
    [http://www.berkeleyboca.org/issues]
    {
    The program itself is not even structured to be a program for truancy or for juveniles. It also seems to be dealing directly with criminals – why on earth does the BUSD want to bring CRIMINALS on campus rather than allowing the LEGAL system to deal with them. In a direct sense there is NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE that this program is effective.
    }

  72. Thomas, regardless the forum, McBride owes a report of his findings. If, in fact, his mission is to help problems within the BUSD, and he has some expertise in such things, he should want to offer up what he could. Doesn’t matter which committee he ‘worked’ for. It is disingenuous of him to offer a service pro-bono (if in fact it even was) then refuse to report on that work when said work assisted in garnering him a $30K contract. 

  73. “Susan Craig, the director of student services for the Berkeley Unified School District, interviewed almost all of the six Berkeley students who were caught with guns and asked them why they brought weapons on campus. None of them were particularly forthcoming about their reasons, she told the safety committee.”   Most meaningless statement ever; I cannot imagine what number ‘almost all’ of six students is? 5.5? 4.25?  Come on.
    And for anyone whose ever met Ms. Craig, can you imagine what student would talk candidly with her? She’s one of the iciest Berkeley White woman I’ve ever met. 

  74. So while arguments rage about credentials, let’s talk about McBride’s background and credentials; what are they that the BUSD has contracted him to run the Lifeline’s to Healing program? After speaking with Leah Wilson about this, I did some google searching… and found nothing. His family-run church was in San Jose, there was an article about him being maltreated by SJPD, and nothing else.  Just about anyone who has grassroots or community involvement that manifests in anything meaningful usually has some academic, journalistic reference on the Internet. Pastor McBride does not. Where does he come from? What are his credentials? Where has he run ANY program, let alone a program for a school district that has had any measurable success. Furthermore, Lifeline’s, which is funded out of the General Fund will serve only the highest risk young black males. That might be a good idea…. if McBride could give us any evidence that our tax dollars are paying for experience and not just a carpetbagging mouth-piece. I think Director Wilson was sold snake-oil. He should have released some report on his focus groups, even if he did do it for ‘free’, which he didn’t since he’s a paid BUSD consultant, as I understand it. 

  75. Thanks.   I think I was pretty clear that I was aware these are two different committees since I drew the distinction between them. 

  76. “Following Bork’s nomination to the Court, Sen. Ted Kennedy took to the Senate floor with a strong condemnation of Bork declaring:

    Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution,
    writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government,
    and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of
    millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the
    only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our
    democracy… President Reagan is still our president. But he should not
    be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate,
    reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of
    the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of
    Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.[16][17]”Hmmm.  I guess this is what O’Malley meant by “usually”.

  77. Bruce, these are actually two different committees. The minutes you cite come from the high school safety committee, which prepares the school’s annual safety plan and looks at many issues. Then there is the Ad Hoc Safety Committtee appointed by Supt. Bill Huyett. That group — the one tasked with coming up with some approaches  to reducing gunds at school — had not gotten any formal feedback from McBride on the focus groups he held with various students.

    Al Bahn’s company did a safety assessment of the high school. The survey was only a small part of the overall assessment.

  78. “there’s usually a correlation between outstanding credentials and correct analysis”
     
    Now I finally understand why Socrates, Spinoza, Rousseau and others without a laundry list of degrees and official credentials were persecuted when they dared spew forth their heresies.
     
    Likewise, it may be time to take another look at Nietzsche, Heidegger and Robert Bork all of whom had truly outstanding intellectual and professional credentials.  

  79. I frankly don’t think understanding motivations is the solution here. People shoot people all the time for motivations we all understand: passion, aggression, etc. Unless the shooter is defending themselves, we don’t usually care about mitigating factors based on motivations. We simply expect people to follow the law. By high school, even the most wayward teen knows a gun is trouble… and potentially trouble with the law. Teens that do it lack self-control, and that’s not something BHS can improve on an individual basis.

  80. No, I think you are catching on much faster than most, and I am grateful you actually care.

    Most people figure out just how twisted and dysfunctional  BUSD is then they  duck and cover, hoping to get their kid graduated.

  81. “I think the idea is that if we really knew why students bring guns to school, we could deal with the causes rather than just catching the students in the act (or not) and expelling them.”

    I don’t think it’s a mystery. I think we know why they do it. That doesn’t mean solving the problem is easy. My point was that the question “why do kids bring weapons to school” has been studied, and most likely understood. Just because something is easily understood, doesn’t make it easy to solve.

  82. Oh I mean exactly what I wrote.  One aspect of elitism is judging statements by the “qualifications” of the speaker instead of evaluating the logical correctness of the argument.  Another aspect is reflexively dismissing the opinions of those with limited financial resources.

  83. I don’t understand why someone with such great credentials would continue to act like a petulant child.

    I’m starting to doubt that you’re the real Stephen Kaus.

  84. I have never claimed to have all the answers.
    I’m just pointing out how other schools have solved some of these problems and expressing frustration at BHS’s refusal to examine and implement some of those solutions.

  85. How about simple truth in advertising?  That’s easier to quantify.

    “So, you can get the last word.  I am done on this topic.  Flail away.”

    Is this the 3rd or 4th time you’ve announced that you have quit commenting or responding to a Berkeleyside thread in disgust?

  86. 1.  In many instances, “correct analysis”, much like the interpretation of the law, is just that; an interpretation.  And even those with “outstanding credentials” misinterpret situations.

    2.  The “quick and the glib does not substitute for intelligent and educated”  but could be a pathway towards discovery of an intelligent and educated analysis, guess, assumption, etc.

    3, An interesting statistical study might be the analysis of the following.  “…there’s usually a correlation between outstanding credentials and correct analysis…”

  87. If by elitism you mean tending to value evidence and qualifications, guilty.  

    You cannot really mean what you just wrote.

  88. Like anotherconcernedparent said, the problem is with the “open entry” policy.  The non-students on the campus generally don’t like to wake up early, but it is easy for them to entire the school by slipping into the hordes of students returning after lunch.

    My belief is that it would be logistically easier to make all of the students stay on campus for lunch than to re-screen and re-search everyone after lunch.

  89. No, it really doesn’t matter if I have multiple doctorates or if I’m a homeless person (and by the way, your condescending classism and elitism has been noted).

    The opinion either stands or falls on it’s own merits, regardless of the qualifications of the person who stated it.  If I am wrong, then feel free to logically explain why.  If you can’t do that, then I am probably correct.

  90. How do I even know that you and Captain Morgan are not the same person?  

    So, you can get the last word.  I am done on this topic.  Flail away.

  91. We have that in our building.  If the security guard does not recognizer you, they ask for ID.  After a week or two they recognized everyone.

  92. maybe if you have all the answers stop repeating them over and over on every berkeleyside b high post and go out and make a positive impact on a child.

  93. Even if you disagree with him, at least he’s advocating something. Instead of making weak personal attacks, why not just explain why you disagree?
    All you seem to be doing is arguing for the status quo, demanding credentials from anyone who feels like sharing an opinion, and making bizarre accusations that anyone who disagrees with  you is a secret Tea Party nut or a panhandler (???).

    What I don’t understand is why you’re suddenly going after people who are clearly stating their personal opinions instead of going after some of the regular posters here who endlessly cite statutes of the California Education Code pretend to be legal experts.

  94. “If it were easy to understand why some teenagers are carrying guns, even
    to school, the problem would have been solved by now, but it’s a lot
    more complicated than that.”

    Simply because something is easy to understand does not mean it is easy to stop.
    It’s easy to understand why some people are racist, but that hasn’t stopped racism.

  95. My cryptic “yep” to this posting ( reprinted below, but posted earlier) could be misinterpreted.  What I meant is that there’s usually a correlation between outstanding credentials and correct analysis, and that quick and glib does not substitute for intelligent and educated, contrary to what some online commenters, including the above one, seem to believe. If it were easy to understand why some teenagers are carrying guns, even to school, the problem would have been solved by now, but it’s a lot more complicated than that.

  96. This seems like a reasonable approach.  

    if you stand outside the Wiley Manuel Courthouse some morning with the long line of people waiting to get in, you will see what I don’t want the school to look like.

  97. This seems like a reasonable approach.  

    if you stand outside the Wiley Manuel Courthouse some morning with the long line of people waiting to get in, you will see what I don’t want the school to look like.

  98. It is not necessary to keep students from leaving BHS at lunch time. We  should only restrict entry, not egress.  Let students leave anytime they want; but when they return to enter the campus, then they enter only through the few monitored entry points. With this type of procedure it is not a “jail.”  It is however an access restricted school.  ***It should be more like a concert where you can leave anytime, and get a hand stamp to return (But you have a photo ID instead of a stamp).   If security doesn’t recognize a student, they can ask for ID. This will eliminate most objections to “closing’ the campus.  The very small number of students who have proven themselves to be real security risks should be subject to random security screening for deadly weapons.

  99. I think the idea is that if we really knew why students bring guns to school, we could deal with the causes rather than just catching the students in the act (or not) and expelling them.

    And to GPO, I didn’t say that I am particularly qualified to give anything other than my personal opinion.  I am writing as an interested reader and saying that many people criticizing anonymously and incessantly on Berkeleyside claim to be fonts of wisdom and criticize everyone else, without taking responsibility for their statements or offering any basis to believe they know what they are talking about. 

    For example,”Captain Morgan” says “[w]ho cares “why” students bring guns to campus? and then offers three “obvious” solutions that involve turning the school into a prison, IMHO, and firing various BUSD employees including the high school principal who, by all accounts I have heard from actual parents, is doing a terrific job.  I think it would be good to know if the writer is the guy who spare changes me at the Safeway or someone with an actual basis for his opinion.  (I have my guess)

  100. Frances,

    Principal Scuderi has stated several times to the BHS safety committee that he has a good understanding of the what the dynamics are regarding these specifics cases having interviewed the offenders, perhaps he can give a summary, the police dept could as well.

    However, I do not think much of what is being discussed in Supt report , news stories or blog debates gets at the district errors. The ad hoc committee is likely to publish a minority report echoing the same policies concerns I and others have pointed to, which is  how the district policies align with best practice in school critical incidents response.

  101. Many other schools deal with the lunch problem by allowing outside vendors to set up shop on campus and serve students there. Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and many other chains can be brought in from outside to feed the students.

  102. I’m a little bit puzzled about Berkeleyside’s take on McBride.

    On April 19th, the Berkeley High Safety Committee minutes (not the Ad Hoc Safety Committee) report:

    Pastor McBride with Lifelines Project had conducted several focus groups at BHS around the gun / safety issue. Each SLC administrator had selected the students and Ardarius admitted that in general they were kids who had not had any contact with guns or serious safety issues. It’s just the beginning.

    Was a second round of focus groups arranged by the district?   It seems otherwise that a report (however minimal) was in fact made to the safety committee to which the ad hoc committee reported.   The gist of the report was that the focus groups didn’t produce any particularly interesting data because the district (the SLC administrators, specifically) selected students who didn’t have much information or exposure to the problems.

    It also seems that the work performed by McBride was not specifically for the ad hoc committee in the first place – it is not clear why a second report to the ad hoc committee would be expected.

    With that background information I’m unclear why Berkeleyside ties the issue to Lifeline’s contract.  Especialy when there was apparently a failed real money contract to get “student voices”: 

    A survey conducted by the safety consultant Al Bahn of Edu-Safe Associates only garnered one student response.

    Ok, well… what did the district spend on that?

  103. Please excuse my ignorance, but what purpose would closing the campus at lunch serve?

    If the goal is simply to avoid an opportunity for guns to arrive mid-day it would very likely be more cost effective to repeat whatever start-of-day screening process you’ve installed.  The logistics of trying to serve lunch to 3000+ people are extremely daunting

    Now, I won’t pretend to know whether instituting some sort of gun screening process is even necessary (and certainly wouldn’t venture a guess as to what one might look like); I’m simply curious as to why the idea of a closed lunch keeps popping up here.

  104. It’s remarkable that you put this so succinctly without the benefit of being a partner at a leading law firm, having served as an adjunct professor in federal practice, being a former deputy public defender or having a J.D. from Boalt.

    I guess I will need to reevaluate the correlation between commonsense and publicly posted credentials…

  105. “efforts to find out and understand why students brought guns into school did not go far.”

    I’m so liberal, I’m usually on the side of the criminals, but this is ridiculous! I don’t necessarily agree that it’s as simple as “to commit crimes”. But regardless of how nuanced the reasons may be, haven’t studies been done on this before? Just google “why students bring guns to school”. These include fear, aggression (committing crimes), status, etc.I doubt there are reasons that are unique to Berkeley that significantly override this.I’m all for student involvement. But put these kids to work on solving the problem. While most kids probably bring guns to school for the same reason thousands of other kids across the nation bring guns to school, our own students could be much better resourced helping to come up with solutions that are unique to our community.

  106. Why does anyone carry illegal weapons anywhere?

    They are either used for the commission of crimes, to defend against crimes, or to “look tough.”

  107. Wait, McBride was given a $30k contract to bring in the Lifelines to Healing program, but he couldn’t even bring back the information from his focus groups. I don’t care if he was paid for the focus groups or not. It seems to me, he volunteered to do these focus groups in order to secure the contract. Once he had the contract, he had his payout and he stepped off of his responsibilities. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but why give him the contract if he didn’t fulfill initial obligations (even unpaid ones).

    I am very curious and interested to hear what students have to say about the matter of guns on campus. It is not impossible to do a survey during the school day. A stratified random sample wouldn’t be perfect, but could be conducted in the first few weeks of school in the English classes.  I’m sure some groups would be up in arms because you wouldn’t get opinions of students who aren’t in class or are habitual truants, but really isn’t that a whole other issue? 

  108. Who cares “why” students bring guns to campus?  Honestly, it is not that important.  The primary issue is that there are guns on campus, and that needs to end immediately.  The solution is obvious:

    1.  Closed campus over lunch
    2.  Install metal detectors
    3.  Fire any BHS employees involved in obstructing justice and discouraging students from reporting illegal activities to BPD.  If that includes Scuderi, then he should be fired ASAP.