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Answer for violence on BHS campus: create small schools

Susan Brahan Berkeley
Friday January 11, 2002



I read with dismay the article on violence at Berkeley High. My daughter who is a Freshmen had her backpack stolen three weeks before Winter Break during a PE class. That same week four other students that we know about also had backpacks stolen. Besides feeling personally violated the thefts resulted in lost textbooks, class work, cell phones, wallets and calculators. I can only imagine how widespread the problem is if this is just one week's work. 

I could not believe that School Board President Shirley Issel was quoted as saying “Security quickly became the highest priority for the high school.” 

Ms. Issel has been the most vocal opponent of the proposal to investigate Small Learning Communities at Berkeley High. Her comments at resent meetings bordered on complete arrogance. Research on SLC has repeatedly stated a major byproduct of breaking a large school into smaller schools is the decrease in violence and vandalism. Berkeley High's 3,200 student population is simply stated too large to manage. If Ms. Issel and other Board Members are truly committed to reducing violence than start by breaking the school into more manageable communities.  


Susan Brahan