It’s a good thing that a case manager at Oakland Community Day School took seriously a 14-year-old student’s threats to her life and others yesterday. Shortly thereafter, police went to the student’s house and found seven loaded weapons in an unlocked cabinet near his bedroom. Seven! The boy was arrested.
Here’s a letter that Community Day School Principal Sam Pasarow sent to families, assuring them of the safety of their children and giving credit to staff for responding quickly (Like most of the alternative schools, Community Day does have an extensive search process, but still).
But that wasn’t the only weapons-related incident to shake Oakland schools yesterday. Another 14-year-old boy, who had been expelled from Madison Middle School, showed up to the campus and pointed a fake gun at two kids participating in an after-school program. The kids, of course, thought it was a real firearm.
The 14-year-old was arrested yesterday evening. But during the next two weeks, while the school undergoes a security review, the sports programs will move inside.
Madison’s principal, Lucinda Taylor, also wrote a letter to families about the incident. You can read it here. At one point, Taylor echoes a sentiment voiced by Cole Middle School Principal Ivory Brooks after a pistol (brought to school by a 13-year-old) discharged in class: that the easy accessibility of weapons and the embrace of violence are broad, societal issues, rather than a reflection on the school.
We don’t view this incident as a reflection of Madison and the close-knit, academic-oriented atmosphere we have developed. We recognize that the issue of violence is not simply a Madison problem, but a wider social problem and we welcome the full input of the Madison community in grappling with this issue.
It’s hard to argue with that. Still, knowing that schools operate in a violent context, there must be some steps that can be taken in Oakland to better protect kids. What are they? And how do you implement safety measures without making schools look or feel like prisons?
Read the full story here.
above photo from Robert Nelson’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons