TPolice Investigating Reported Kidnap-rape BERKELEY—SEVEN male students from a Berkeley middle school have been arrested in a five-hour kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old girl with learning disabilities, authorities said yesterday. Six of the Willard Middle School students have been suspended pending a continuing investigation of the reported attack that began on campus and moved to nearly a dozen other locations, police and school officials said. he sun shines behind him. You can see blue sky in the corners. A carpet of grass frames the subject: a boy, standing, holding a baseball bat. A red mesh cap with a W balances atop jug ears. The boy’s black eyes stare into the lens. His cheekbones, though layered in baby fat, rise to meet them. His lips part in a broad smile that frames two buckteeth. The white uniform billows around a prepubescent body. Next year, his shoulders will broaden, muscle will define the arms, and a mustache will itch beneath his nose. Flip the picture over. In purple marker, in slanting, childlike scrawl with oversized backward letters: Chris’s picture day! 1 A star dots the i. Drawn faces—two l’s for eyes, broad u’s for smiles—crowd the slippery white space.
In January I ask his teacher, before we work together for the first time: What patterns have you noticed in your students who are designated Comp Ed? What literacy goals do you have for these students? “Let’s see, the patterns . . . well, they, um, do not stay focused. And they have a hard time choosing their own materials. They can’t read well, like they don’t know their letters and sounds and can’t even write them correctly, like it looks like a four-year-old wrote it. And they have a hard time being . . . taking risks and making mistakes. They are afraid to take the initiative, but they learn how to hide it well. They are pretty verbal and so can hide it. They don’t see the meaning of the assignments, so if it’s too hard for them, they give up. Often they don’t turn