Reading, Writing, M16s, and MRAPS: US education getting schooled over militarization

A rendering of the San Diego Unified School District's new MRAP shows it in white, with red ambulance markings. When district police received it, the vehicle was military tan.
Reuters / Steve Dipaola
Reuters / Steve Dipaola

Just one month after the shooting death of African-American teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, which brought military-grade vehicles and weapons onto the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, in response to an outbreak of protests and riots, Americans are wakening to the realization that their school districts are also being militarized.

Although many Americans are aware that their local police forces are steadily acquiring military-grade weapons from the Pentagon, news that local school districts are also the beneficiary of the firepower is eliciting an outcry from citizen groups.

At least 26 school districts have participated in the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which since the 1990s has provided free military surplus goods, including mine-resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and M16 rifles.

READ:  San Diego Unified School District gets…an MRAP?!

Last week, for example, the San Diego Unified School District Police Department (SDUSD) announced that it had received from the federal government a $733,000-dollar Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) similar to those used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In June, the Los Angeles Unified School District also received a MRAP.

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