Tags: Ferguson in Crisis | school | district | military | surplus | vehicle

School District Gets Fed Surplus Military Assault Vehicle

By    |   Monday, 15 September 2014 05:33 PM

In what is being described as a first for a metropolitan U.S. school district, San Diego Unified in California has acquired a government-owned surplus armored vehicle, television station KPBS reports.

The 18-ton assault-style vehicle — called an MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle) — is the same type used in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was received by the public school district at no cost from the government's ongoing 1033 program, which has supplied surplus military equipment to local police departments, including one in Ferguson, Missouri where a policeman shot an unarmed black teen, causing a national controversy over race and use of deadly force, television station KDVR noted.

The school district paid about $5,000 to have it delivered from Texas, the station noted.

How is gets used in the future remains to be seen as the vehicle is now housed in a garage at one of the district's high schools where it was painted by students in an auto-body studies program.

The district's police Capt. Joe Florentino says it's only for "emergency situations," KDVR noted.

"Our idea is: How can we get in and pull out a classroom at a time of kids if there’s an active shooter? If there’s a fire [or] if there’s an earthquake, can we rip down a wall? Stuff like that."

For now the vehicle, worth about $730,000, will be used to store medical supplies, including teddy bears, owned by the district.

Florentino noted the perception issue that comes with a school district and a military assault vehicle, but said people should not get the wrong idea, San Diego's NBC 7 reported.

"We recognize the public concern over perceived 'militarization of law enforcement,' but nothing could be further from the truth for School Police," Florentino said in a statement.

The vehicle will have "rescue" and "police" painted on the outside and will include a red cross, the symbol of aid, police noted.

The school district's trustees, however, had not been notified in advance of the acquisition, leading one school trustee, Scott Barnett, to complain that it was a "misguided priority," NPR reports.

At least one parent said he was not bothered that a school could own such a vehicle, NBC 7 reported.

"I think it makes sense," said Jericho Lopez. "You obviously want your kids safe and if the county is making the decision that this will keep them safe and not add additional dollars out of our pocket or take from education or resources in the school, then I have no problem with it."

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In what is being described as a first for a metropolitan U.S. school district, San Diego Unified in California has acquired a government-owned surplus armored vehicle, television station KPBS reports.
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2014-33-15
Monday, 15 September 2014 05:33 PM
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