To all it may concern: I returned to BHS after spring break, expecting to find a trash free campus given the previous week's vacation. On the contrary, I saw trash along MLK, next to the track, that had been there since well before the vacation. Since I have picked up this strip myself many times, I know that it is a job which takes 10 minutes at most! I refuse to believe that the custodial staff is incapable of this task, for whatever reason or excuse, which will inevitably be the response of those at the helm. As is customary, the main courtyard was fairly clean, that is if you don't peer too closely into the vegetation, where you will find a veritable garbage dump. However, venture into Memorial Grove or, better still, walk through the upper Allston Way gate around the side of the Community Theater and what you will find is truly shocking. It looks as though someone has taken a couple of full to the brim trash cans ( examples of which are all over) and emptied them on to and behind bushes, into flower beds and all over the pathways. Although night-time security has been instructed to remove the homeless from campus, they have once again set up shop outside the stagecraft shop on Allston Way. They urinate, defecate, drink and use hypodermic needles here and discard the latter right there where students work on sets. Whenever we complain, security is vigilant for a while and then surveillance slackens off and we have to complain again. We are simply asking people to do the job for which they are paid, often very well! The campus at BHS is a disgrace. It is time to stop relying on volunteers to do the job which able bodied men and women are being paid to do. It is for this reason that I am not calling a work day to clean the school of garbage in time for the annual Arts Festival. I was asked by an administrator to do this and I apologize for going back on my word, but I am unable with a clear conscience to pretend to the citizens of Berkeley that the high school normally looks the way it would if we were to come along and clean it up for this event. The Grounds Committee and Adopt-a-Plot programs already look after the landscaping. It is too much to ask us to also pick up the trash. Corinne Eno, Chair Grounds Committee.
[Editor note: the preceding letter was sent to BHS school officials, the School Board Directors, Berkeley mayor, and others. I sent a separate request to BoardofEd at berkeley.k12.ca.us asking for a response to Corinne's letter as this topic has come up so often in our newsletter. Principal Frank Lynch replied that the BHS campus would be cleaned for the festival, and a reply was also received from Gene LeFevre. No response was received from School Board Members.]
On Saturday, Berkeley High hosted a series of Lacrosse games. I was embarrased for Berkeley because of the amount of garbage around the field and Berkeley High . I am not talking about construction debris but bottles, cans, newspapers and just plain trash, piles of it. Is there not a program to clean these areas? Alan
The school needs to address the problem from several angles. First, we need to ask them to have a consistent policy regarding students who litter in the first place. At lunchtime, it would be very easy for security to ask kids who litter to pick up their trash. Right now security does nothing. Secondly, the administration needs to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards custodians who refuse to do their jobs. Thirdly, night-time security must be vigilant regarding people carousing on school property. Finally, we as parents and members of the community must stand up and refuse to accept this sad state of affairs. E-mail the following people and demand that something be done: Frank Lynch, Principal, BHS email@example.com Dorothy Dorsey, Head of Maintenance, BHS firstname.lastname@example.org Gene Lefevre, Head of Maintenance, BUSD email@example.com
I don't have the superintenedent's e-mail, but we should really lobby him too. In the meantime, come to the work days sponsored by the Garden Committee. If you prefer, you can simply pick up trash. Many people do. There is one scheduled for this Sunday at 10 a.m. Enter via Allston Way, lower gate or gate on MLK and Bancroft. I'll supply garbage bags and latex gloves. Nothing will change until enough of us refuse to put up with it any longer! Corinne
I am puzzled at the request for parent help to maintain the grounds at Berkeley High School. While I understand at the moment it may be necessary on an interim basis, why is this not a class at Berkeley High: Horticulture and Landscape Gardening with credit? And also, why are the students not, (or maybe they are and I don't know about it) scheduled to clean up grounds, pick up trash, etc.?
This seems obvious to me but it must not be obvious. Many of the Berkeley public schools are now part of the Food Systems Project in which students, parents and teachers are preparing gardens. These are related to food issues. But in a few years Berkeley High is going to see some sophisticated gardeners arrive as students. Why can't this become part of the curriculum so Berkeley High could have lovely landscaped and well maintained grounds via student energy and learning.
Theresa Saunders, Principal
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