Occupy camp concerns Berkeley High School

December 6, 2011 8:38:56 PM PST
The Occupy camp at Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley has been growing and it's causing concern at a nearby high school.

Berkeley High School is an open campus. At lunchtime, students are free to roam. Just across the street, Civic Center Park has always been a favorite location -- until the Occupy movement took over.

"We used to always have lunch at that park and now we can't, but we have to show respect cause I'm part of the 99 percent," student David Sumisaki said.

"It doesn't seem like it's accomplishing that much because it's mostly full of people who are homeless," student Jake Souza said.

They've been here for nearly two months and during that time, the encampment has certainly expanded.

"When we got back to the other side of Thanksgiving break, the encampment went from, you know, 40-something tents to almost 100," Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi said.

That's when he wrote to parents letting them know how hard it's become to monitor all 3,000 students.

"We do have some concerns about a number of folks setting up camp who don't seem connected to the movement and, you know, that always puts some variables out there that are a little concerning when student safety is your responsibility," Scuderi said.

According to Berkeley police, there have been 19 calls related to the Occupy encampment, 10 classified as crimes. They include battery, assault with a deadly weapon, lewd conduct, and a probation violation, among others. The police department monitors the park daily.

The park is also used by the school for emergency evacuations. It's now a safety issue.

One Berkley City Council member says he doesn't want the park to become a permanent campsite.

"We have an ordinance against camping in our camps and so at some point we may ask them to relocate," Laurie Capitelli said.

There have been a few notices sent out, but no real action has been taken. A source tells ABC7 some City Council members have given members of the camp their cellphone numbers in case the camp gets raided.

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