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Updated: Dean Reports on Violent Clashes at Berkeley High This Week

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Monday March 15, 2010 - 09:36:00 PM

More details are emerging about the string of violent incidents that took place in and around Berkeley High School last week. A message from Berkeley High Dean of Students Ardarius McDonald on the school e-tree message service Friday said that a fight which broke out between two groups of Berkeley High students Thursday escalated in the On Campus Intervention office when a parent and at least one non student arrived.  

McDonald’s email said that the Berkeley Police Department, Berkeley High administrators and safety officers were present at the site to control the situation.  

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Andrew Frankel said that at 2 p.m. March 11, a student who was involved in an on-campus fight was detained in the OCI office. Because he is a minor, his name was not released. 

His brother, Raymond Brown, 19, a former Berkeley High School student, entered the campus without authorization and came to the OCI office where he was detained by staff. 

When Brown saw his younger brother detained, he became physically and verbally abusive with Berkeley High School staff, Frankel said. Berkeley police was already on campus investigating the earlier fight. Frankel said Brown was pushing the officers to get to his brother and was arrested by BPD for unauthorized presence in a high school while it was in session and giving a false ID to a peace officer. 

Brown’s brother was also arrested. Both are Berkeley residents. 

The dean’s email said that “instructions to secure the campus by asking all teachers to keep students in the class was a precautionary measure so that students and staff would be clear of any potential danger.”  

McDonald said that Berkeley police and school safety officers responded swiftly and arrested several people.  

“We apologize for any disturbance to your classes but do appreciate all of your support,” his email said.  

Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Mark Coplan said he learned about the incident from McDonald’s email.  

Coplan said students who "act up" are often sent to the On Campus Intervention office instead of getting suspended. McDonald’s email also detailed three separate incidents which he said took place Wednesday, March 10 on or near the Berkeley High campus.  

The first occurred in the MLK Civic Center Park around noon, when a Berkeley High safety officer, while making rounds, was assaulted by one non- student and two Berkeley High students. McDonald said that Berkeley police responded and made arrests.  

The safety officer is fine, according to McDonald. Within a few minutes of the first attack, an adult wielding a pair of scissors walked into the BHS campus. The individual was detained by safety officers and arrested by Berkeley police.  

At approximately 3:40 p.m., a group of non-Berkeley High students were involved in a fight. Safety officers were dispatched to the scene, McDonald’s email said, following which the individuals moved up toward Shattuck Avenue. The Berkeley Police Department was also called to the scene.