Berkeley High School, where Billy Keys coordinated security

Billy Keys, who headed up security at Berkeley High School and who was instrumental in formulating new policies after the spate of gun incidents at the school in 2011, has been arrested on allegations of identity theft.

Berkeley police took Keys into custody on Thursday after an investigation, according to an email sent out by BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi Friday afternoon. Keys has been placed on administrative leave while the school district looks into the matter, Scuderi wrote.

“In an attempt to head off speculation and to be out in front of any rumors, I want to inform you of a very difficult development that has occurred within the Berkeley High School Community,” Scuderi wrote. “…BHS will continue to hold the highest expectations for all of its staff and students and place no one above consequences if and when their actions jeopardize the integrity or security of our school.”

The details of the identity theft are not yet clear as Scuderi’s email came too late on Friday for Berkeleyside to contact the police department.

Keys, Berkeley High School’s safety officer, has been a fixture at Berkeley High for a decade and is well known to students. Himself a graduate of Berkeley High, Keys’ role included dealing with truants as well as students who get in fights or steal. Keys is the head of the security force that patrols the school and stands by entrances and exits. He also chaired the parent-staff safety committee for years.

After there were a number of gun related incidents at Berkeley High in 2011, including one where two students shot off a gun in a bathroom, Keys served as part of the Ad Hoc Safety Committee looking into safety issues at the school. The group presented a set of recommendations to Superintendent Bill Huyett that included beefing up patrols around the school, restricting access to the campus during school hours, and closing some gates.

Students see security changes at Berkeley High [09.02.11]
Berkeley High security officers play multiple roles [04.04.11]
Berkeley releases safety plan to reduce guns at school [04.05.11]
School safety committee issues safety report [06.24.11]

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