BARSTOW The Barstow Unified School District has requested police officer presence at its upcoming board meeting.

The meeting, to be held April 28, is when the school board will approve the renewal of administrative employee contracts for the upcoming year, which includes the controversial planned removal of Barstow High School Principal Ed Cheek.

Cheek was notified April 3 that he would no longer be principal of BHS next year. The announcement of his departure caused an outcry among groups of students and teachers who protested the idea of Cheek being ousted because of low test scores at the high school. A number of teachers have signed letters and students have circulated petitions in support of Cheek.

Superintendent Susan Levine said the district will likely ask one of its school resource officers to count the number of people coming in the door.

Barbara Rose, board vice president, said that the district has also consulted with the Barstow Fire Department, at Rose's request, regarding how many people can safely fit into the district's staff development center where the next meeting is to be held.

"I believe that there is going to be a big crowd rightfully so," said Rose. "They have a right to be there to have their voices heard," she said.

According to Levine, the district has not received any threats that warranted police officer presence.

Rose also said that she did not feel that board member safety was an issue for this particular meeting.

"We do this as a precaution," she said.

Levine noted that the administrative contract renewal agenda items will be part of the consent agenda and not separate board items.

In the summer of 2008, the district had a plain-clothed officer attend a board meeting when a parent had threatened to damage the district office, Levine said, however the parent did not materialize.

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