Over the past year, the City of Claremont and Claremont Unified School District have concurrently engaged the community in dialogues about racial equity, social reform, and safety in Claremont schools. These dialogues have consisted of workshops, stakeholder meetings, advisory groups, surveys, and other engagement tools.
In July of 2020, the City’s Police Commission created an Ad Hoc Committee to conduct outreach on Police Department policies, programs, and practices as they relate to school safety. The Ad Hoc Committee compiled their research into a series of recommendations to the City Council. On July 13, 2021 the Claremont City Council approved a series of recommendations to reimagine school safety in Claremont schools and redefine the role of the School Resource Officer.
In September of 2020, the Claremont Unified School District formed the District Advisory Committee (DAC) on Racial Equity to provide input and recommendations to district leadership and the Board of Education to inform decisions that impact historically marginalized students and stakeholders. Starting in February of 2021, the District Advisory Committee members were assigned to three subcommittees focused on creating equity action plans to inform the recommendations to the Board of Education. On September 14, 2021, as part of the DAC’s report to the School Board, the subcommittee on School Climate/Safety offered a series of recommendations. Based on the report of the District Advisory Committee, CUSD is developing a phased plan to assess and evaluate these recommendations for consideration over the next few years.
Given the differences in timelines and jurisdictional responsibilities between the Claremont City Council and Claremont Unified School District, Mayor Jennifer Stark has appointed a working group, whose charge will be limited to the reimagining of the School Resource Officer program, policies, and practices for the City Council to consider. The task of the working group will be to develop recommendations for the City Council regarding a SRO program that takes into account the input received during the community outreach period earlier this year. The Mayor’s appointees to the working group are Medina Collie, Lynn King-Tolliver, Rafik Mohamed, Tyrone Newman, and Sophie Rivasplata. They represent a cross-section of stakeholders, including educators, district employees, parents and students. City staff anticipates the working group will begin meeting in early 2022 and complete its work by June of 2022.
“Trust is a cornerstone of the Community Policing model, as such we embrace the possibilities to revamp and reimagine the school safety position with particular sensitivity to people of color and marginalized groups. The City sees this as an opportunity to better address the physical safety and psychological wellbeing of all stakeholders,” said Mayor Jennifer Stark.
Vice President Steven Llanusa said, “The City Council and School Board share the funding of the School Resource Officer. The District looks forward to evaluating the information from all groups regarding the SRO, including any ideas for the SRO position from the City Council’s working group.”
To stay informed on the City’s School Resource Officer reimagining process, please visit www.claremontca.org.