The Berkeley public schools Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday night to expel a Berkeley High School student for one year for bringing a gun on campus in her backpack last month.
The student was arrested by Berkeley police during the incident after telling school officials and police that she had brought the gun to school by accident.
The vote, which was taken in closed session and announced in the board’s public session, upheld an expulsion committee’s recommendation, and identified the unnamed female student only as “Case Number 04051.”
No further details on the vote or punishment were provided by Board Director Nancy Riddle.
A recent article in the Berkeley High Jacket, the high school’s student-run newspaper, provided details about the Feb. 3 incident that have not been released by school or district officials. Some of the information reported in the student paper seemed to contradict the district’s version of events.
The Feb. 18 article, written by BHS student Rina Breakstone, said that “the girl showed the gun to a few of her classmates” in Madalyn Theodore’s fourth period American Literature class.
The article continued, “Although the girl and her father both say that she had brought the gun to school by accident, many people still are not assured of the validity of that statement. ‘She let one of the kids [in the classroom] touch the gun so I don’t think she forgot about having the gun,’ said [one] girl who reported the initial incident to Theodore.”
The article quoted a sophomore in Theodore’s class that “from what I overheard, it sounded like she was possibly going to shoot a student that day,” but that account was not confirmed by any other students, or by BHS Vice Principal of Discipline and Safety Denise Brown, who interviewed the expelled student before she was arrested.
The Jacket article also added that Theodore, in whose class the incident took place, “is somewhat doubtful” that the girl’s actions were accidental.
“There were several kids who came up to me and said she was showing [the gun] to them at lunch,” Theodore was quoted in the paper as saying. “The police reports from me and from the other students contradict [the idea that it was accidental].”
Berkeley High officials have said the unnamed student’s father confirmed he gave her the gun “for safekeeping from her siblings.”
Assistant Alameda County District Attorney Walter Jackson of the department’s juvenile decision said the DA’s office has not yet made a decision as to whether to charge the student with a crime. Criminal charges could also be brought against the student’s father for providing her with the weapon.