Interim Boston School Superintendent John McDonough announced Wednesday night that he was halting efforts to equip school police with pepper spray, saying it might “drive a wedge between our students and the school police.”

McDonough told the School Committee in his opening remarks that it became clear during forums held in recent weeks to develop a pepper-spray policy that students, parents, and other community members did not support the idea of equipping the system’s 75 school police officers with the chemical spray, the Boston Globe reports.

He also noted the number of student arrests has dropped dramatically in recent years, and that the district has taken other steps to bolster safety, such as installing key-card access to schools, upgrading cameras, and adopting new measures to prevent conflicts before they erupt.

Boston school police officers, who carry no weapons, have been pushing for pepper spray for years. They finally struck an agreement with the School Committee as part of their union contract more than seven years ago to carry it.

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