Berkeley School Superintendent Considers Safety Measures

By Jeff Shuttleworth(BCN)
Thursday March 31, 2011 - 07:06:00 PM

Berkeley school Superintendent Bill Huyett said today that he is considering a variety of measures to improve safety at Berkeley High School, where there have been a number of gun-related incidents this year. 

Huyett said a special school board meeting on Wednesday night was "very productive" and generated many ideas about reducing gun-related problems. The meeting was the second on the topic this week--a parent forum was held on Monday night. 

Huyett said he will study the ideas that were suggested at the school board meeting and recommend new safety policies at the board's next meeting on April 13. 

Among the ideas Huyett is considering are having students wear identification badges and having a police officer at the campus five days a week. 

However, Huyett said it probably would take time to set up a student ID program because school officials would have to figure out how to pay for it and staff it. 

He also said there are "different opinions" about student ID cards and that some people are opposed to them. 

Berkeley High School was locked down on Wednesday after a parent reported seeing a young man with a gun in his waistband near the campus. 

Police detained a group of people near the edge of campus but the parent who had notified the school did not identify any of them as the person who had a gun and no weapon was found. 

On March 23, two Berkeley High students were arrested after a gun they brought to school went off in a school bathroom and a third student was arrested later that day for having an unloaded handgun, according to school officials. 

There were several other gun-related incidents at the school earlier this year. 

Some people have suggested that metal detectors be installed at the school, but Huyett he thinks they "are not a good idea." 

Huyett said metal detectors are not effective at large schools such as Berkeley High, which has about 3,400 students, because they are costly and time-consuming. 

He said he thinks the machines aren't practical because there are too many students to process in a short period of time at the beginning of the school day. 

However, Huyett said, "We'll be as aggressive as we can" in trying to implement other ways of reducing gun-related incidents.