[BHS Etree] ADMIN: Update on Sexual Assault/Harm Issues at BHS

BHS Etree bhs at lists.lmi.net
Wed Feb 12 18:57:15 PST 2020

PLEASE do not reply to this email.

Good afternoon BHS Families,

I am writing with a longer update and response to this past week’s worth of
events at Berkeley High.  Our whole admin team has spent time listening to
students, in large groups and often one on one, and hearing their pain and
anger as well as their requests and demands for change.  It has been

I know that it is not possible in one email communication to address all of
the questions and feedback from our families and community, but I do want
to write and share some short term and long term actions and plans with you.

I read the list of demands (attached here for your reference) that the
students presented to the Superintendent yesterday, and I just finished
meeting with the student leaders who wrote them.  Our team joins them in
advocating for the entire list. Some of the items on the list (additional
staffing, and training both at BHS and district-wide) will certainly need
to be part of larger budget discussions this spring.  But here are some
things that we are working to immediately put in place:


   In the coming weeks, we will begin classroom presentations for students
   covering topics like consent, how to report sexual harassment and assault,
   “upstander” behavior, and more.  Because our 9th grade students cover many
   of these topics in the Fall with the SPARK assembly, and in the Spring in
   their Social Living classes, we will target our 10th-12th grade classrooms
   over the next several months.

   We are bringing in some members of our community that are specifically
   skilled at working with students to restore the harm that sexual assault
   has caused.  This is on the list of student demands, and I want to
   carefully frame what this actually means. This work is not simply about
   bringing together a student who was harmed and the person who harmed them
   to talk it out, but rather a deep process to create accountability and
   begin healing.  Those involved can choose whether or not to participate.
   For students who have asked for this, we want it to happen as soon as
   possible, starting this week and next. We will also explore how and when to
   involve our wider community.

   Additional stories and reports of sexual harm have come up in the last
   several days, and we are following up with every student who has come to
   speak with us. Students can report to any trusted adult on campus, and I’m
   attaching the reporting guide we use that outlines the process.  We are
   also distributing posters with these guidelines to every classroom this
   week and next.

   Our entire counseling staff is available to talk to students who need
   support, as is the health center staff.  We are working to bring in other
   counselors to be on campus, potentially from other schools. We’ll keep you
   all updated on those efforts.

For the longer term, in addition to advocating for funding for the items
mentioned above, we do want to continue the dialogue both within BHS and
with our community.  Thank you again for the many offers of support,
programming, and expertise. Our team will be meeting with district office
staff on Tuesday to further examine all of those and prioritize next steps.
Changing our school’s culture is a school and community-wide effort, and we
are here in partnership with you, working hard on behalf of our students,
as we move forward.


Erin and the Admin Team


Nicole Chee, Jenny Fosket, and Chaghig Walker are the parent-volunteer
facilitators of the Etree; please direct any questions about the Etree to
them at bhs-owner at lmi.net.

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