Brentwood City Councilmember Susannah Meyer is requesting staff look into safety concerns after multiple incidents have occurred at the Civic Center Parking Garage in downtown Brentwood.
The request comes as the Tuesday City Council Meeting produced 11-emailed public comments along with a teacher who told tales of what was going on within the parking structure. Meyer confirmed she met with the teachers as well as the police department on the issue.
Concerns over loitering, theft, vandalism, people have sex in cars, drugs and even an air-soft gun incident were shared. Another written comment stated students have attempted/contemplated suicide from the top story only to be talked off the ledge by school staff.
On Tuesday, Jonathan Dorr, an automotive teacher at Liberty High School, highlighted he has had concerns when the structure was built and the problems continue and urged safety precautions begin to be implemented.
“Since the completion of the parking garage, there have been a number of issues including people throwing the garage fire extinguishers into the back of the school shop area, last year during the pandemic they broke concrete floor pieces and throw them threw the shop windows and other classroom windows. The students, every morning come through the fire lane area and constantly have to walk through broken beer bottles, glass, trash that have been deposited over the side of the parking garage from the night before. I’ve had to deal with countless and community members coming to the edge of the parking garage yelling at my students while they work in the shop. I’ve had to call the police several times, I’ve called the city, schools, campus supervisors, they can’t do anything off campus and cars revving their engines disrupting the learning environment. The most relevant issue that happened on October 18, a student and his friends made a series of bad decisions by going to the top of the parking garage, yelling at my students, pulled out an air-soft gun and fired it several times. No one was hurt, but the incident shows with the lack of the barrier between the garage and the school that something more could happen… I know it needs to be addressed so please consider adding this to strategic planning meeting so a solution could be found.”
During informational reports by city councilmembers, Susannah Meyer, stated she met with Liberty High School teachers and union representatives along with Brentwood Police Acting Chief Silva regarding the safety complaints.
At the Future Agenda Item Requests, Meyer requested she wanted the city to create a list of options to address the concerns by the teachers, students and staff of Liberty High School regarding the parking structure.
She said it wasn’t an isolated incident, but a series of unsafe practices that are putting residents at risk while things are getting more serious.
“I think we need to look at short-term and long-term solutions to this problem so we can keep our residents safe,” stated Meyer. “I think it is something we need to look at as quickly as possible based on the way things are moving and the fact we are getting more reports about it.”
No timeline was provided as to when the item would return for council discussion.
Acting Police Chief Silva said the police department was working with school staff to provide regular checks of the parking structure and identify students that should be in school; then bring the parents into the conversation.
“We are working collaboratively with Public works to identify subjects responsible for littering and vandalism. Public works maintains the structure and often discovers evidence the police needs to initiate investigations,” said Silva. “We are scheduling regular patrols of the structure to increase Police presence.”
He added that Councilmember Meyer and he met with school staff to hear their concerns and share some ideas.
“As a result of that meeting, the safety and security of the structure will be placed on the council agenda for further discussion,” said Silva. “We are communicating with Public Works on the possibility/feasibility of adding physical enhancements to mitigate vehicle access and roof top risk associated with pedestrians. We will be partnering with the school to push out information to parents regarding student behavior in the structure.”
He added that this will continue to be an ongoing discussion and effort by all stakeholders until we can implement some permanent long term solutions.
Written Public Comments (provided by City Clerk)
I am writing let the City of Brentwood know that since the parking structure was built in 2012, there have been nothing but negative problems here at LHS. As a staff person, I am allowed to only park in the structure as long as my LHS parking permit is displayed. That creates a targeting effect on teachers. Students and other persons up to no good, realize that the owner of that car is not a sitting duck waiting to be robbed/vandalized, because the school is in session from 8am to at least 3/3:15. We cannot just leave our classes unattended to alerts of our car alarm going off.
I don’t find this acceptable, since the City doesn’t allow teachers to park longer than 2 hours at a time on the streets. While we would all like to think that the LHS staff parking lot is big enough to hold all +125 teacher and supportive staff there, that is simply not true. It is also not a secret that if you don’t have a city parking permit, or a LHS parking permit, you can still park there. There are students who brag all the time that they park in the upper floors of the structure all the time with no ticket ever being issued; so what is the point of requiring a permit, if the City does not reinforce it?!
Not only do people without parking permits park in the structure, there are students and nonstudents who constantly occupy the top of the parking floors, throwing objects down at all hours of the day. My child’s team use to rent the old LHS swim facilities, and the coaches consistently would have to show up an hour before practice to scope out for broken bottles, needles, and other dangerous objects, but sometimes it was so bad that they would have to cancel practice at the last minute because it could not be cleaned up. (and this is after the custodial staff from LUHSD would clean the previous day/earlier that day or even a few hours earlier.) And it never mattered how many angry emails and phone calls parents would make to the city.
I do not find it acceptable for the City to “shrug” its shoulders and then say since the mess is technically not on their side of the lines, that they cannot do anything about that. The problems all originate on City property, and since the City does nothing to reinforce its own rules, the City is essentially harboring criminal activities. Is that really want the City of Brentwood want to be known for?
Liberty High School
I am a concerned citizen writing to reiterate what others have voiced about the nefarious on-goings in the city garage. At any point throughout the work week, one can go to the city garage and witness teens and young adults to destitute individuals use parking lot as a place to vape, do drugs of various sorts, drink, having sex in cars, vandalizing property, doing burnouts, and the list goes on.
If one does not witness these things personally, one can see the evidence on the grounds around and in the structure, burnt tire marks to a plethora of broken glass from beer bottles thrown from the top story to the ally way and on the roof of LHS. Paintball marks vandalize the walls and building next door.
Students have attempted/contemplated suicide from the top story to luckily be talked off the ledge by school staff.
Recently a minor pulled and fired an imitation weapon on an educator from the top floor of the garage looking down during school hours. To date regarding the last situation, no charges have been filed against the perpetrator even though multiple penal codes were violated.
The private security hired by the city to watch the garage is ineffective in prohibiting the situations listed above from happening, nor is there much a person in a uniform but no authority/legal ability able to do. It seems that the message is clear to folks that wish to use the area as a place for illegal and/or destructive activity; even when caught on camera, nothing will be done to hinder behaviors because there is access and no repercussions reported.
What can be done to help make the City parking garage safe for LHS and the community?
Possible solution: reallocate funds from private security to the BPD to have a staff member there during peak use hours to write citations or make arrests when necessary. An overwhelming enforcement of laws would send a message that there are repercussions and thus spread the word to some that the area is no longer a great place to cause mayhem. Perhaps physical barriers for limited access to the top floors or a glass or metal structure blocking the sides of the buildings that face the school can be discussed.
While no great action happens overnight and most solutions require financial means this is a problem that the council and community need address as not doing so will likely have a far higher fiscal and emotional impact.
As a council, it is my hope that short term immediate solutions are discussed and implemented while long term plans are drafted and invested in.
Thank you for your time,
Dear City Council members and Mayor,
my name is John Dodson; I am commenting today as a concerned citizen as well as a teacher at Liberty High School. As a resident, it gives me concern that we have city structures that go relatively I’m patrolled where it is known that students and non-students create a “nuisance” on city property on a regular basis.
As a teacher whose classroom is within 30 yards of the parking structure, I have greater concerns. Every day, as I am teaching in my classroom, I hear very loud music, revving engines and screeching tires and often people yelling. I believe at many levels this situation needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
I hope that a solution can be created to resolve these problems
As a staff member of Liberty High School, I am concerned with the recent response to a threat made against a staff member at the City parking garage adjacent to our site. Staff come from all over the county to enrich Liberty with their life experiences.
As Liberty is in the middle of construction, our necessity for safe parking and entrance/exit to our workplaces is of the utmost importance. Especially in a time where teachers are being targeted by community members, parents, and students and blamed for countless societal issues.
The city police must act to secure the parking structure in a way that allows for the safe attendance to work that all staff desire. Without basic safety in our city, we will see people leaving the district for other communities. We need to keep our dedicated teachers and staff safe before anything else is asked of them.
Kyle Anthony Roman MAT, M.Ed. (he/they)
Liberty High Theatre Arts/Stagecraft/PADA
Playmakers Advisor/Director PAC Coordinator
Esteemed City Council Members,
Thank you for your time. I am a resident of Brentwood (since 1999) and a Science Teacher at Liberty High School (since 2000) and I am writing in concern about the hazards of the city parking structure that looms over the school and center of town. I opposed the construction of this structure when it was originally proposed and attended meetings at the time (with many others) to convince the Council at the time not to construct a large parking structure directly adjacent to the high school for the very reasons that I now addressing. While it serves a worthy, it is also a nuisance loitering location for people who have specific and nonspecific purpose for hanging out there. I have seen many people using this structure for many purposes and people have been harmed and threatened in the structure. A couple years ago I arrived to campus to find a girl standing on the top of the structure threatening to jump. The roofs of the nearest buildings are littered with broken glass, debris, objects, and paint balls that have been thrown from the structure. I even heard a bottle break as it was dropped behind me to the ground from the top or third level (I didn’t see it fall) as I was leaving campus one late afternoon in August or so. I was not close enough to think that someone was trying to hit me with the bottle, but it was very scary to realize that someone could.
Soon after the structure was completed, I went up to the top to enjoy the view and also to see what my classroom looked like from up there. It was very frightening to me to see that my classroom and many others are very visible from there. In this time when we are being more vigilant about school shootings and training in preparation for this, it seems really obvious to me that we need to do something about the ease of using the parking structure for such an attack. Our fears were confirmed when a student did actually prove that a shooter could easily shoot people if they were motivated to do so.
Please thoughtfully consider adding measures to protect our students and safety as well as the young children who play around the area and the employees of the city and school who park there, and the community members as we all use this space from time to time. We are asking for some physical measures to prevent people from entering portions of the garage when there are not events that require the entire garage to be open. It is not possible to keep very determined people out of a space, but it is possible to make it very difficult and not worth the effort. I’m asking you to consider all reasonable options. Consider a shield at the top perhaps. Even glass panes on the top, which allows visibility still, but would prevent things from being thrown from the top, and would prevent someone from sitting or standing on top of the edge. Additional policing may be necessary as well, but physical barriers will help very much. Thank you again for your time.
Anatomy and Living Earth
Teacher Liberty High School
To Whom it may concern,
I’m a mother of a high school student at Liberty High School. I am so worried about the safety of my child and all the students at Liberty. Please help us find ways to provide a safe environment for our students. I put my trust in you because I believe you can do something for the safety of our community especially our students at Liberty HS.
Thank you for all you do.
I care deeply about all people’s safety in liberty union high school district. Right now a key concern is the students staff and public walking near structures near liberty high. Thank you for your prompt attention to this critical safety issue. Signed Teacher of local students
In regards to the city’s multi-level parking structure:
Dear City of Brentwood Council Members,
As a teacher at Liberty High School (LHS) I do appreciate being able to park in the multi-level parking structure that borders and overlooks the southeast portion of the LHS campus. Unfortunately, it has become something of a magnet for loitering teens and young adults.
In reference to the parking structure’s “Birds-eye” vantage point overlooking the campus: It’s no surprise that “kids” enjoy throwing things, especially from height. Usually they don’t really think about what they are doing or the possible consequences of their actions; they are just being kids. But recent events have clearly demonstraed the potential for something far more sinister and horrific to occur which cannot be ignored, nor should it be minimized; to do either is inviting a preventable tragedy.
Additionally, while I have never personally felt threatened or unsafe, I have experienced numerous “near-misses” where a youth was racing down the ramps on their bike or skateboard with little regard for how difficult it can be for drivers to see them while pulling out of a parking spot. This is an accident waiting to happen.
I do not know what is practical in terms of policing the parking-lot itself, but I do believe it is fairly easy to block off the birds-eye vantage point of the garage that overlooks the LHS campus. This can be as simple as retrofitting a dense, fine-mesh metal screen of sorts. I’m sure such a screen could be designed to minimize any negative aesthetics while allowing natural light to pass through, and also preventing even very small objects (including the barrel of a gun) from sliding through.
I trust the board to address this issue appropriately.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Teacher – Liberty High School
Dear City Council, Good morning.
I just wanted to reach out and share my concerns regarding the parking structure adjacent to Liberty High School. I used to park in that structure a few years ago. However, after seeing and hearing about various incidents, I have chosen to park my car elsewhere. In the past I have noticed (especially before and after school hours) young people skate boarding recklessly through the garage. I have noticed adults and young people just sitting in cars, listening to music or smoking for extended periods of time, etc. Is there any way the city can pay for a security station ( a little shack or something) with a guard at the entrance of the parking garage, M-F, 7:30- 4pm? This person could check for parking passes or tags, not allow students to park in the lot, monitor who comes in and out, etc. Perhaps charging for parking tags would help defray the cost of securing a security guard and station at the entrance? Thank you for your consideration.
LHS Art Teacher
I think that part of the problem at the parking structure and surrounding area is that Liberty claims to be a closed campus but if it really was, it would have fencing surrounding the entire campus with minimal entrance/exits to keep students from wandering off campus. I have seen this at quite a few high schools throughout my life and it is effective.
Maybe limiting entrance and exits to the parking structure at the city offices would help as well.
My other idea would be to have a city based security presence at City Park and the parking structure.
Last but not least, maybe a misdemeanor infraction with a sentence of something like picking up trash at parks around the city or helping the landscaping crew. That is of course if you can catch the perpetrators in action. I hope these are helpful suggestions.
Dear Brentwood City Council Members,
I have had the pleasure of teaching on the campus at Liberty High School since 2003. I also have relocated my family to the Discovery Bay area in 2005 because we saw the potential in this area for growth and felt that Brentwood was a wonderful community to raise our children, who have since graduated from this school district.
This past academic year, 2020,-21, I have been teaching from a classroom located in the J5 room. I have included a photo from my door.
- The first thought I had when I saw my new room assignment was that one day, someone will be hurt from the students either dropping items from the top floor or the parking structure, or worse, shot at during a Columbine like situation from someone pointing a riffle at us from inside a truck window right down our J area walk way. This year, I have personally had to avoid students dropping water bottles from the top floor near the entrance of the parking structure, and students spitting on other students from the top of the parking structure. (August, 2021)
- I used to park in the structure, but there are so many kids speeding out of the parking lot, hanging out near our cars when I want to leave at 3:10, and witnessing cars in front of me almost hit our students, that I no longer park there.(September 2021)
- Previously, over the years, I have witnessed students walking on the ridge cement rail off the top parking floor. Fortunately when then saw me, they got down from the ledge instead of jumping. (Just think of the publicity Brentwood would get from students falling to their deaths.) I am a Discovery Bay resident, so I do contribute to paying taxes for Liberty High School.
- As a tax payer, I expect the school, I help pay for, to be safe for students and staff.
- As an employee at this school district, I expect to leave school without fatal injuries each day. When the new parking structure was built , our CTE department asked for it to be closed walls facing our school during the planning stages. (It was ignored)
- Dorr, our instructor for CTE Automotive pathway, as well as the students in the auto shop , work on car’s outside in that corner of the K building. Our Art students, and construction students are also working outside on projects.
- We are always concerned with their safety. If you didn’t know this, recently, Mr. Dorr was shot towards with an air gun by a student.
- o It is evident that we could have a situation here that the newspapers and TV stations could broadcast to our world that we are a school that is not safe to attend. 2700+ students attend here, that is allot of tax payers.
As a local tax payer, it has taken 8 years for the value of my house in Discovery Bay to come up to the value in which we bought it for in 2003. I would hate to hear Brentwood citizens relocate their families and homes because they think our school district is not safe, and move to Tracy, simply because of the city of Brentwood’s lack of safety and protection for their most valuable assets, their children.
With this said, I just want to come to work and teach the children of our area without fearing there is going to be a shooter on campus, or in that parking structure.
If you are asking for solutions? A short term one maybe to install metal garage doors that roll down during the school hours. Increase the presence of police officers. Perhaps long term, put a permanent block of some type on the walls facing the school
Regardless, as a committee, I ask that you do SOMETHING for the safety of our school children before it is too late. Perhaps as a committee ,with the school district officials, you can tour our Liberty Campus when students are present ,so you too know what it really is like to be on campus when school begins, ends, during passing periods.
Liberty High School CTE Instructor