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Oakland principals speak out about gang violence, ask for help

Two East Oakland elementary school principals have appealed to the police and the community for help, saying increased gang activity and violence is threatening to erode the progress they have made during the last several years.

In a letter sent this afternoon to Oakland school district’s police chief and dozens of others from the school district, city and county (and local newspaper), ACORN Woodland Principal Kimi Kean and EnCompass Academy Principal Tram Nguyen detailed their concerns — which include daytime shootings and weekend drug sales in the school parking lot — and proposed solutions.

They write:

This steep escalation in violence at our campus indicates an unacceptable level of risk and vulnerability in our school community. After nearly 2 years with no gun violence during school hours, we have been faced with 3 incidents of gun violence in just 3 months. We know that the latest shooting was an issue between rival gang members. As leaders who are deeply invested in the educational and life success of our students, we are calling on you to act now in support of safe communities.

What are your ideas? In a time of reduced funding, what are steps that school staff and ordinary citizens can take to protect schoolchildren?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    What school staff can do to protect schoolchildren is to exclude from enrollment at the school you want to protect any “student” with any gang affiliation including any family members who even associate with gangsters. That means no gang tattoos, haircuts, clothing, any of it. Beyond that you might want to exclude any child with parolee family or prison parents. Send them to “another” school you are not going to protect. The families might just agree to the transfers because they wouldn’t want their kid in a school where everybody is openly looking down at them.

    It’s simple really.

    You also teach the kiddies you don’t lie, cheat or steal or (ever) tolerate among you those that do.

    Also simple. Then you remove from the school those who (at least) repeatedly get caught doing the above.

    You also remove any students who are insubordinate, truant, unclean or otherwise not fit for association. You send them to the “alternative” school where anything goes.

    Funding is not a problem. You maintain two schools, one you protect and one you don’t. And never the twain shall meet.

    It’s so simple is was going on in 1950. It’s still going on in good schools. Sometimes we hear of it as “counseling out” as in AIM Charter schools, or maybe Piedmont. You just explain how unhappy you are/are about to be and how much happier you will be at continuation school. Or just elsewhere.

  • Katy Murphy

    It’s important to note that the problems outlined in the letter are linked to gang members in the neighborhood, not the kids at the elementary schools. ACORN Woodland, for example, is widely seen as a success story for its academic gains and positive school culture.

  • http://yahoo.com jessica

    i think this is true principal do need help like we need help to make our community better and safer

  • http://yahoo.com jessica

    wut da hell wuz dat all bout