[BHS Etree] ADMIN: Community Bulletin from Principal Glenchur

BHS Etree bhs at lists.lmi.net
Thu Dec 4 18:40:55 PST 2014

Dear Colleagues, Parents, and Students:


I'm glad to be back with you after an extended absence, and I thank all of
you for your warm welcome. I am truly grateful to be healthy and back at
B-High. I want to thank the administrative team and staff who have carried
on the school-wide initiatives we began the year with and who have worked
tirelessly in what is always a challenging and dynamic environment.


I've spent a great deal of time thinking about the great opportunity we have
to face the teachable moments that are presenting themselves. From the
African American members of our community who are feeling the pain caused by
recent incidents in New York, Ferguson and on our campus, to the young women
and their allies proclaiming their right to be free from sexual harassment,
I have heard the cry from our community for communication from the
Administration, to respond, do something, fix it. I'm abundantly aware that,
whatever we do, we will find allies and critics and I'm grateful to be
surrounded by many experts and supporters who are passionate about
developing effective curriculum and an appropriate response. 


It's clear that the place we must begin is to foster the growth of empathy
in our community. Right after the Winter Break, we will be presenting an
important lesson to all of our students developed by our African American
Studies Department and Ardarius McDonald, Dean of Students. It will be
facilitated by Pamela Harrison-Small, former Executive Director of the
Berkeley Alliance. The lesson includes images which tell an important story
about why so many of our African American students and staff feel pain, why
so many don't feel their story is being told in the classroom, and why we're
struggling to understand and "manage" behavior. We ask you to be open to
empathy and respect and appreciate the resiliency of our young black men and
women. We believe empathy will drive us to stronger and more effective
education and help us send the message: racism will not be tolerated. 


We also need to respect our young women and the other groups and individuals
who are bullied or harassed. Harassment is defined as ongoing, unwanted talk
or actions. No one should be subjected to comments and behavior that make
them feel vulnerable, powerless, and disrespected. Adults on campus have a
responsibility to interrupt this whenever we see it and send the clear
message that it will not be tolerated. We are not reacting to isolated
incidents at Berkeley High. We are talking about a pervasive culture where
there is no single fix, particularly when it shows up in popular culture and
in cyberspace. We need everyone to commit to stopping this behavior and
begin to treat one another as we would want our sister or brother to be


There will be multiple responses in the near future to address these
problems. Before the Holiday Break, a coordinated effort will take place by
the District, BHS staff, and students to send a loud and clear message to
our school community: harassment of any kind will not be tolerated and we
must interrupt it when we see it. This coordinated effort will include: 1)
Offering a clear lesson on harassment to all students; 2) Making sure that
all adults at BHS are aware of their responsibility to interrupt harassment;
3) Providing additional resources and information as well as the specific
and immediate places students can go to be safe and get support; 4)
Coordinating with the District in their communication to all BUSD families;
and 5) Collaborating with a variety of groups to continue building a
healthier and safer school culture. We are committed to doing what we can to
make sure our students are safe from harassment and bullying and will
provide more specific information on these efforts in the very near future.


We care about and are working to provide the appropriate education and
support for all of our students both in terms of cross-cultural empathy and
safety from harassment. Berkeley High will continue to consider and develop
additional ways that we can support all of our students in understanding
these issues. Raising caring and empathetic young adults is a community
effort. My hope is that everyone will commit to this important work.  


For further information about these issues, I've attached two articles: 1)
Beyond Celebrating Diversity: Twenty Things I Can Do to Be a Better
Multicultural Educator, and 2) An Executive Summary of a report on sexual
harassment, the full article for which can be found at


Please take care of yourselves and each other as we continue this important
work to bring our students and community together. 


Kristin Glenchur

Principal, Berkeley High School



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