By Doug Oakley
A 17-year-old high school student in Berkeley was arrested with a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his classroom Tuesday morning, the fourth student to be arrested in two months in gun-related incidents.
A Berkeley police statement said the principal of Berkeley Technical High School, an alternative school for Berkeley students who have problems at Berkeley High School, called police around 8:30 with information that a student was on campus and ready to settle a dispute that happened over the weekend.
Berkeley police arrived a few minutes later, "created a safety perimeter and containment around the campus" and found the student in the classroom, where he was arrested without incident, the statement said.
The student was booked into juvenile hall on charges of carrying a loaded firearm on school grounds, having a concealed firearm at school and having a weapon on school grounds.
In February, two Berkeley High School Students were arrested when they tried to bring a gun onto campus. In January, Berkeley High School security guards confiscated a handgun from a 15-year-old boy.
Berkeley Unified School District Spokesman Mark Coplan said it's been at least five years since any student has been caught with a gun on campus. He said the three recent incidents in just two months are a sign of the times.
"You're not looking at a situation specific to Berkeley," Coplan said. "Ten years ago you might have had three students coming to school with a pocket knife. So if you look at other school districts you'll see more of this happening these days."
In all three incidents, no shots were fired, and no students were injured. All students caught with guns on campus are recommended for expulsion.