Last year, the district hired a restorative justice

Berkeley School Board rejects school officer grant Berkeleyside

The Berkeley Unified School District has one school resource officer. Photo: Emilie RagusoThe Berkeley School Board said a canada goose outlet resounding “no” to a proposal to add a second police officer to its campus roster during a discussionearlier this month about ways to address safety and racial tension on Canada Goose Outlet campus.

The proposal, from Superintendent Donald Evans, was among a canada goose outlet online uk group of ideas collected from the community in December following several race related incidents at Berkeley Highin recent years, including the hanging of a noose on campus, disparaging statements that were slipped into the school yearbook last spring, and racial threats posted on a school computer in the fall.

The Berkeley Police canada goose outlet store Department had wona Department of Justice grant for $125,000 over a three year period to help fund an additional canada goose factory outlet school resource officer position. There is just one school resource officer in the district, stationed at Berkeley High on weekdays.

Berkeley Technology Academy Principal Sheila Quintana has lobbied in recent years for an officer who could also be present on her campus, the district’s lone continuation cheap canada goose school. The grant would have helped provide funding for that position, said Capt. Dave Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department.

The mainfunction of the school resource officer, Frankel said, is to build relationships with students, answering questions about police, helping talk through incidents that may have upset them and working with kids to keep them out of trouble.

“We don’t want them to be involved in the disciplinary process, that’s not what we want,” Frankel said. But he also acknowledged that, when violent cheap Canada Goose situations do arise, it is Canada Goose Parka helpful to have someone on campus who is familiar with the personalities and nuances.

“When crimes are reported on campus, that’s the primary report taker,” he said, “who also does what is possible to try to handle things at the lowest level and try to keep kids out canada goose outlet nyc of the juvenile justice system, using diversion programs, and working with parents and kids and their teachers.”

Relying on other patrol officers to handle school related calls maynot be as effective as having officers who are assigned to schools, Frankel said.

“Theydon’t havethe same level of expertise working with kids, knowing who’s who on campus, and having relationships with teachers to try to tailor the police responseto the child’s needs becausethey don’t Canada Goose Jackets know the background and the family history,” he said.

He also canada goose outlet uk noted that the department works hard to choose school resource officers with the right skill set for the job. The current officer has a background in child development and juvenile probation. He’s a coach who’s married to a teacher.

(The Berkeley Unified School District denied a prior request from Berkeleyside, in 2014, to shadow the school resource officer to see how the job works.)

In the past, Berkeley had as many as four school resource officers but now has justone, who is canada goose outlet in usa stationed at Berkeley High. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said last year that, on average, 3% 4% of a department is assigned to the schools. If Berkeley followed suit, that would be canada goose outlet jackets as many as seven officers.

Even with the grant, the endeavor would not have been cheap. Frankel said the city and school district would have needed to allocate an estimated $75,000 each over the three years to cover the full cost of the position, and that the grant would also have required full local funding for a fourth year.

Currently, the city covers the school resource officer cost for four days (Monday through Thursday), while the district picks up the fifth day and overtime forspecial events.

The BUSD School Board in December 2015. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSDSchool Board members said at their Jan. 13 meeting that, for the most part, it really wasn’t about the money.

“Iwill never support having more police on our campus,” said Judy Appel. She added that she felt compelled uk canada goose to “warn”fellow board members about the grant, and believes the police department willtry to “dress it up” like a restorative justice solution. “Iwill never vote to have another police officer on our high school. I’m just not going todo it.”

Added Board Member Ty Alper about the grant: “Ithink we can take those off the table almost permanently. No more police officers in our schools even if it canada goose factory sale was not a resource canada goose outlet canada issue.”

Among the other ideas suggested by Evans, which board members goose outlet canada expressed support for: improving communication about threats to campus safety; the possibility of a policy to address hate crimes and racial harassment; the development of an anonymous reporting system; establishing a policy for police interactions with students; and providing additional training for the existing school resource officer focused on “expectations roles and responsibilities.”

The districtalso plans to continue developing its restorative justice program, with an update coming later this semester. Last year, the district hired a restorative justice coordinator for canada goose outlet store uk BHS, and has convened a committee to determine “what some of those practices shouldbe at the high school,” Evans told the board.

Appel thanked district staff and others who have been working on coming up with a response to last year’s troubling incidents at Berkeley High. She said she looks forward to “continuing the courageous converations that we have canada goose coats begun,” adding “we’re all so messed up about race.”

Students told the board they did not feel the district’s response was specific enough to Berkeley High, and to demands they presented in December about changes they feel should be made.

“The way the response made us feel was very small,” saidNebeyat Zekaryas, co president of the BHS Black Student Union. The students did not address canada goose uk shop the policeissue, but asked for changes to the curriculum and for the creation of a Black Resource Center where students can feel comfortable.

Sam Frankel, arepresentative from the Berkeley NAACP also said the district needs to do more to address racially charged incidents on campus. “There’s a track record that needs to be addressed.”

Laura Babbit, speaking on behalf of community group Parents of Children of African Descent, said some of the accountability measures proposed by Evans would be a significant improvement on the status quo.

“You’ve taken a stand we appreciate all the stands,” she told the board. “But this is time to deliver.”

The district plans to report back to the board in February with an update on the Evans proposals.

Board President Beatriz Leyva Cutler said by email after the canada goose outlet toronto factory vote that “The board was very clear that with regards to immediate action we would rather our district put resources to training, and programs that are prevention and intervention; and build relationships between students and adultsrather than additional police/policing on campus. Programs like high school counselors, a robust Restorative Justice, training for teachers and programs like Peacekeepers and adults that care and engage our students. We would rather that our students learn to be allies and our schools utilize restorative practices.”.

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