California School Board votes to bring police back to school campuses after ‘defund’ movement

A California school board voted unanimously last week to bring police back to campuses, just a few months after it decided to remove law enforcement from the school grounds, arguing at the time that the money should be spent on student services, such as mental health health.

During a special meeting last Wednesday, the Pomona Unified School Board approved a service agreement with the Pomona Police Department to hire two campus security resource officers – as the district looks to “restore and recreate” the role of police, Superintendent Richard Martinez told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

The deal, which is yet to be approved by Pomona City Council, comes months after protests across the country called for defining police. But since students returned to personal learning after COVID-19 shutdowns, schools are now dealing with fights and problems that police officers would typically deal with.

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Pomona Unified School District Education Center in Pomona, California.  (Google Maps)

Pomona Unified School District Education Center in Pomona, California. (Google Maps)

“Please do not be bullied by a certain number of people who have the audacity to say that the police do not keep the children safe,” M. Joyce Baker-Smith told the school board, according to Los Angeles’ KABC-TV. “They keep the kids safe. They keep us all safe.”

The officers will serve as “law-related educators, problem solvers and community relations,” the station reported. A spokesman for the Pomona police said officers will receive specific training related to their task.

The conversation about bringing the police back grew after a shooting on October 15 near Pomona High School, which left one person injured.

“We need different kinds of help. Half of the students seem traumatized by the incident, the other half are just numb to it,” said Pomona High School substitute Pablo Padilla, who advocated for increasing mental health services. according to paper. “It’s very scary to be in my position because I care about the district, it’s my community, and I want to make sure things get better.”

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Others spoke out against the decision to hire officers, including a social action group in Pomona that claimed the Pomona Unified School District rushed the issue by announcing the meeting just 24 hours earlier.

“We feel that PUSD leaders were irresponsible in their actions, ignoring research and refusing to analyze the impact of (school resource officers and the Pomona Police Department) on Pomona’s youth in recent years,” Gente Organizada said in a statement according to the Bulletin. “Our society deserves better from our leadership. It is our hope that the PUSD takes the necessary steps to truly invest in restorative justice alternatives and away from punitive strategies that harm our children.”

The Pomona Unified School District issued a statement to FOX 11 Los Angeles following the decision.

“The Pomona Unified School District has 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 schools. Our goal has always been and will continue to be be the general health, well-being and safety of children, “the statement read.

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“Our law enforcement partners greatly help our mutual efforts to ensure that every child within PUSD enjoys his or her right to a quality education free of threats to their safety. To that end, we will continue to work with our local agencies to help We protect and better serve the families in our Diamond Bar and Pomona community, “it added.

Pomona is about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

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