Following yesterday’s gun-related incidents at Berkeley High School, in which one gun was fired and another discovered in a student’s backpack, BUSD Superintendent Bill Huyett sent out an email to the Berkeley High community this morning setting out the district’s preliminary responses.

These will be implemented, he said, before spring break which begins on April 2.

“The safety of our students, teachers and staff is our paramount concern,” he wrote. “Berkeley High School, in cooperation with school district administration, is presenting the following steps to respond to the recent incidents of weapons on campus”:

  • School and the District have scheduled several meetings to talk about safety with students, staff, and parents within the next 10 days. As a result of these meetings, other measures to ensure safety will be recommended to the School Board.
  • A special School Board meeting has been called for Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30pm to discuss these and other interventions to ensure student safety.
  • Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi will hold a school-wide faculty meeting this week to discuss recent events, talk to staff about this plan and their roles, and review school safety procedures.
  • Administrators at Berkeley High School will go into each history classroom this week and next to explain rules and consequences of weapons on campus, explain the dangers of weapons, and explain how  students can confidentially report information about weapons on campus.
  • Focus groups with students will be held prior to Spring Break to discuss why students are bringing guns and weapons onto campus. The focus groups will be led by Berkeley High School staff with the purpose to give students the opportunity to express their concerns in a confidential setting.
  • An anonymous tip telephone hotline to report weapons on campus —1-866-SPEAK UP — has been created and will be publicized to students and parents; a text message option will soon be added.
  • Increased campus supervision at Berkeley High School has been added effective immediately. Two additional Safety Officers will work at Berkeley High School until Spring Break and may continue after Spring Break if warranted. Safety Officers will provide hourly patrols of bathrooms and out-of-the-way areas on campus.  Administrative support will be added to Berkeley High School on a temporary basis for the remainder of the school year specifically to implement these proactive steps to reduce weapons on campus.
  • The Berkeley Police Department will meet with Berkeley High School and District staff to assist with student education regarding safety and consequences, and assist with parent information regarding safety issues, and review the role of the Police Department’s School Resource Officer on campus.
  • Berkeley High School and District staff have scheduled a parent forum to be held on Monday, March 28 from 6:30-8:00pm in the Berkeley High Little Theater to address concerns and discuss steps being taken to prevent further incidents of guns on campus.

Huyett concludes by noting that the California Education Code governs student discipline and any student found with a firearm faces mandatory expulsion from school, and writes: “We know that the safety of our students and campuses is of concern to the entire community, and we welcome all suggestions for improving school safety.”

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...