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Fremont Officials Narrowly Vote To Remove Police From High Schools

FREMONT (KPIX) -- By a narrow 3-2 margin, the Fremont Unified School District board voted early Friday to end their policy of having a police resource officer at each of the district's six high schools.

The vote came after a night filled with at times emotional debate. Ninety-nine people spoke on this agenda item with reaction split to removing the school resource officers (SRO).

"I was essentially harassed by a SRO for sending a death threat letter which I had nothing to do with," Abena Oni, a former student said.

Oni is now sharing her experience as a member of the task force looking into eliminating school resource officers or SROs.

"A lot of students who kind of look like me have incidents with SROs that where they are targeted, accused of doing something and the SRO didn't have to pay a price for that," Oni said.

The task force was created after neighboring cities eliminated their SRO program. The group said that one of the biggest problems is there is no record of an officer's interaction with students or a way to assess the program.

Fremont police chief Kimberly Petersen says the department is willing to work with the task force but it wasn't given a chance.

"We were totally exuded from this process," Chief Petersen said.

The mayor of Fremont also wrote a letter to the school district, asking the board to hold off on taking a vote, saying "We have had a very successful SRO program and, in collaboration with FUSD for 22 years, we are extremely disappointed with the lack of communication."

While there was a lot of division on this topic, the superintendent of schools thinks the district should take a look at its practices to make sure all students feel safe.

"Safety of our staff and students is where we have common understanding," C.J. Cammack said.

There was a disagreement on whether to fix the program or just get rid of it.

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