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Just four months ago, community activists celebrated a milestone decision in the Pomona Unified School District: The Board of Education defunded school police, removed officers from high schools, and brought in proctors trained to de-escalate tensions. But prompted in part by a recent shooting near a campus, the board has reversed course and brought back police, saying that student safety is paramount.

The unanimous vote during the Oct. 27 school board meeting came after a shooting near Pomona High School left a 12-year-old injured by broken glass and debris. The pressure from activists that led the board to eliminate funding for police and reimagine school safety in June gave way to new pressures from those who believe that the Pomona Police Department plays a crucial role in keeping schools safe.

“An incident such as this drives us, as leaders, to examine our practices and our protocols in caring for students and staff in regards to mental health, conflict mediation, emergency procedures, communication facilities and safety,” Supt. Richard Martinez said during an Oct. 20 meeting after the shooting.

The Pomona school board is not alone in its angst over school safety policies and policing that emerged after nationwide protests over the killing of Black people by police officers and evidence that police disproportionately target Black and Latino students. The Fremont Unified School District last November voted to discontinue its school resource officer program, only to restore the program by May.

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