After a four-year campaign by community activists, the Pomona Unified School District has decided to end on-campus police patrols and instead rely on proctors trained in de-escalation methods, joining a handful of California districts that have moved to defund school police.
The Pomona decision comes amid increased pressure from activists in Los Angeles and elsewhere to re-imagine school policing and eliminate patrols on campus, which some say can be traumatizing for students. Others have maintained that school police play a crucial role in keeping schools safe. Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to reclaim their oversight authority to review Sheriff’s Department contracts with school districts.
“This is a milestone that has been met,” said Caroline Lucas, a Pomona youth organizer who advocated for the removal of officers at her school, Pomona High. “For me, it means that leaders can experiment with what transformative activists have been trying to do.”
The activist group Gente Organizada led the Pomona effort, which began in 2016 after a 16-year-old was the subject of a violent encounter with police officers at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. The officers were acquitted in an excessive force case by a federal jury.
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