POMONA, Calif. - Police officers will be back at Pomona campuses – at least that’s what school district officials approved in a meeting last week.
Keep in mind that it was approximately three months ago that they voted to defund campus police, saying the money would be spent on student services like mental health.
But Pomona is facing what other districts are dealing with. Since students returned for in-person schooling after COVID-19 shutdowns, schools are once again dealing with fights, which are issues police officers used to handle.
This comes months after protests across the country called for defunding police.
On the other hand, counseling and other options are not as immediate and will take time to exhibit tangible changes. Add to that an increase in crime in neighborhoods around some of the schools, and you get scared parents.
In Pomona, the discussion took urgency after an Oct. 15 shooting near Pomona High School, which is still under investigation. While direct school links have yet to be determined, a teenager did get injured from broken glass or debris.
That was enough for school officials to speed the conversation and place their vote.
"It’s wrong and you can’t fight violence with police violence," say organizers from Gente Unida, a student advocacy group that long championed taking police out of schools, saying it particularly traumatized students from minority groups.
But school officers do have their supporters among some parents.
Either way, Pomona will have to wait for city council approval. Other cities are looking closely, as they try to figure out the ideal balance between student safety and welfare, and how police may fit into that equation, if at all.
The Pomona Unified School District issued the following statement:
"Pomona Unified School District enjoys a positive and productive relationship with the local LA County Sheriff's Department related to our Diamond Bar Schools, and an equally beneficial relationship with Pomona PD for our Pomona-based school sites. Our goal has always been, and will continue to be, the overall health, wellness, and safety of children. Our law enforcement partners greatly aid our mutual efforts in ensuring that each child within PUSD enjoys his/her/their right to a quality education free from threats to their safety. To that end, we will continue to work with our local agencies to help us better protect and serve the families in our Diamond Bar and Pomona communities."
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