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January 9, 2008 > More police at New Haven schools

More police at New Haven schools

Submitted By Rick LaPlante

Grief counseling was available and staff psychologists were on site at Barnard-White Middle School and James Logan and Conley-Caraballo high schools Monday, Jan. 7, when students returned for the first time since a Logan freshman was shot and killed outside Barnard-White after school was dismissed on the last day before winter vacation.

The Union City Police Department will have extra officers at all three schools throughout this week. Extra officers will remain on duty at both Logan and Conley-Caraballo through at least the following week, and an extra officer also will be assigned to Barnard-White as necessary.

Vernon Matthew Eddins, 14, a former Barnard-White student, was shot and killed Friday, Dec. 21, about half-an-hour after school was dismissed. According to police, a verbal argument between a group of African-American students and a group of Hispanic males escalated when a Hispanic male brandished and fired a handgun in the direction of the fleeing students.

The District is actively cooperating with the police in an ongoing investigation into the homicide.

"Tensions are high in our community, and we know that some parents may be reluctant to send their children to school Monday," New Haven Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Pat Jaurequi said, in a statement for telephone calls being placed to the parents of every student in the District.

"It is a sad reality, but in a world where violence sometimes invades school campuses, no one not the school district, not the police, not even the government can protect everyone from everything all of the time. Still, we try to do all that we can to keep our students and employees safe."

Police and the District also are taking the following measures:
-Security and access at Barnard-White Middle School will be re-evaluated.

-As part of their regular duties, police will provide additional patrols at all schools at dismissal times, as available resources and calls for service permit.

-At all schools, the January meetings of School Site Councils will focus on student and school site safety and security.

-Police and the District will increase the frequency of their briefings.

In addition, a team of professional security experts will visit the Logan campus later this month and perform an evaluation, a step that the District had initiated before the fatal shooting.

In her telephone statement, Dr. Jaurequi also asks parents to help the District and the police by knowing where their children are before and after school, to get to know their children's friends, and to tell their children to walk directly home from school and walk with a friend or an adult whenever possible. She also asks parents to emphasize to their children that cutting class is not only detrimental to their education but that it also is unsafe, and that carrying weapons DOES NOT make them safer.

"I am continuing to pray for the family and friends of the young man who was slain, and that the cycle of violence that has invaded our community would cease," Dr. Jaurequi's statement concluded. "I ask that you join me in those prayers."

The Union City Police Department has set up a dedicated line for callers, including anonymous callers, with information about the homicide. Please call (510) 675-5207.

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