Berkeley High student responsible for hostile image to face disciplinary action

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A Berkeley High School student responsible for the hostile language and threats to black individuals discovered on a library computer last week will face disciplinary action, according to school officials.

School officials are still in the stage of deciding what form the punishment could take. According to Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Mark Coplan, the punishment could range anywhere from restorative justice, which focuses on rehabilitating the perpetrator through community, to expulsion. The punishment will be determined through a confidential process in order to protect the student’s identity.

Because school officials considered the student’s actions to be a hate crime, the high school is required to turn over evidence to the Berkeley Police Department for a potential criminal investigation.

At this point, Coplan said the decision rests with the police department over whether to press charges. BPD, however, did not immediately respond to indicate whether it would do so.

On Wednesday, a parent volunteer found an image displayed on one of the school’s computers that threatened a public lynching Dec. 9. After thousands of high school students took to the streets in protest, the administration, along with the school’s Black Student Union, decided to give the day back to black Berkeley High School students.

According to Coplan, the day will include a number of activities, from local leaders who will speak on the topic of racism to celebrations of black heritage.

“Racism is inherent throughout our culture,” Coplan said. “Here at Berkeley, we are standing in unity and standing against racism.”

Students have also requested a space specifically for black students and faculty to have a discussion among themselves about their experiences at Berkeley High School and the campus climate.

“We are doing lots of things to make sure students feel safe,” Coplan said. “We’re working with students to look at immediate and long-term solutions.”

Contact Anderson Lanham at [email protected].