**Dear Berkeley High Families, Staff, and Students,
We, the administration of Berkeley High School, are writing to share with you our commitment to making this school a place where all students are safe and included, where differing experiences, backgrounds and viewpoints are welcome, and where we challenge and disagree with ideas, not with one another. On our campus, there has been a lot of hurt and anger while students, staff, and families grapple with the presidential election result. While our peaceful walkout and ensuing class discussions and activities have largely been a unifying force on our campus, there are at least a few instances where divisions and hurt feelings have resulted from students holding differing views and sharing them in a way that led to more hurt and anger as a result. We each have an important role to play in ensuring that BHS remains a school community for all students.
Families: we want to make it clear that while students – and all of us – enjoy our First Amendment rights to free speech, we are aware that around the country, this right is being twisted into hateful words and actions. At Berkeley High School, we commit to investigating any and all reports of hateful speech, with the intent to support students who disagree in being able to hold a dialogue in which all can be heard. When and if that speech crosses into territory that merits possible consequences or further administrative action, we will pursue it as necessary.
Teachers: many students report feeling depressed, unable to focus in class, and worried for their families’ futures. We ask that you pay close attention to the needs of your students, with increased attention and care for our Muslim, Jewish, LGBTQIA, female, immigrant, Latino, African American, Dreamers, or any other students who may feel increasingly targeted or unsafe in our current political climate. Moreover, we reaffirm the City of Berkeley’s sanctuary status for Dreamers and remind everyone that we will not provide student information to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on the BHS campus. At the same time, we know that there are also many students who desire nothing more than to return to “normal” teaching and learning. Knowing how to hold all these needs in one safe place is one of the biggest challenges you are likely to face in these days ahead, and we are so thankful for your care for and support of our students as you do that.
Students: our legacy here at Berkeley High School has long been one of inclusion, celebration of diverse points of view, and a place where each person can find something they value and can be a part of. You are the holders of this legacy, poised to model for our nation what thoughtful disagreement across differences looks like, what listening from the heart looks like, what activism looks like, and what unity looks like. You are leaders and we are proud of you and will protect you and support you.
There is a role for each of us in this community to ensure that the legacy of BHS remain strong.
The Berkeley High School Administrative Team