Media Inquiries

Information for March 14th Walkout

Thank you for your interest in how students in Berkeley Unified School District are planning to respond to the call for a National School Walkout on March 14. We are just one of many districts across the nation with student leadership concerned about gun violence.

Superintendent Evans provided a letter to all families on Friday, March 9 providing a general overview of planned responses in our district. You can read the full letter here.

Plans for Berkeley High School:
At Berkeley High School, our goal is to allow students to carry out their planned actions and civic engagement in ways that ensure the safety of all students. The administration has met with student leaders on how to accommodate the event on campus, while minimizing disruption to classes and maintaining a safe and meaningful event.

Students are planning to gather in the central courtyard at 10:00 am for a moment of silence, followed by speakers from various student organizations, and then a peace sign “spell-out” on the football field. Classroom activities will be maintained during that time for students who choose not to participate in the event. During lunchtime, students have planned to set up tables for registering to vote, writing letters of support to those affected by Parkland, and calling representatives to ask them to support common sense legislation. Rain may affect these plans, of course.

Media Access: For student safety and to respect our students’ ability to focus on their studies and on their activities, we are seeking to minimize the impact of having media on campus. We are planning to have a designated area for media, and we will not permit unknown visitors to come on campus. We hope you will understand that we are trying to balance media access and public interest with student safety, particularly given the subject matter.

If you are a member of the media and wish to observe the activities taking place at Berkeley High School, you will be chaperoned by our Public Information Officer, Charles Burress, and we will have a designated area for you to be on campus. If you wish to interview students or faculty/staff, we ask that you do so off campus during the 11:38 – 12:18 lunch period when many students do leave campus for lunch.

We ask therefore, that if you wish to visit campus, to please sign up on this form and indicate your interest no later than 11:00 am on Tuesday, March 13 so we can review your request. Charles Burress or another member of the BUSD staff will contact you to follow up.

Charles Burress, Public Information Officer
(510) 631-1463 cell
(510) 644-6320 office

BUSD policy on Media Relations states:
The district shall not impose restraints on students’ right to speak freely with media representatives at those times which do not disrupt a student’s educational program. However, interviews of students may not create substantial disorder or impinge on the rights of others. Therefore, in order to minimize possible disruption, media representatives who wish to interview students at school are strongly encouraged to make prior arrangements with the public information office and the principal. At their discretion, parents/guardians may instruct their children not to communicate with media representatives.

In order to protect the privacy and safety of students, a media representative who wishes to photograph students on school grounds should first make arrangements with the principal or designee.

Please note:
Not all of our students have parental permission for media interviews; some of them have “opt-out” forms on file, and many are minors. It is best to speak with designated student leaders who have already indicated a willingness to be interviewed.

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