(NaturalNews) They took years to develop and were expensive to deploy, but well worth it, because they protected hundreds of thousands of American men and women in uniform as they deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They are known as MRAPs — Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles — and their armored shell and sloped underbellies worked in tandem to deflect explosions and repel small arms, to keep military personnel safe.
Now, with the war in Iraq over since 2011 and most U.S. forces headed home from Afghanistan by the end of this year, thousands of these vehicles are headed back to the states; hundreds of surplus MRAPs have been given to local police departments under a controversial Pentagon program that transfers weapons of war to keepers of the peace.
But now, residents in San Diego, as well as some activist groups and board members, are questioning why on Earth the public school district would ever need this kind of armored vehicle.
The San Diego Unified School District — the second-largest in the state of California — has just acquired an MRAP, and at least one board trustee is raising alarms about it on social media.
Militarization of… schools?
Scott Barnett said he doesn’t believe that the military-grade vehicle has any place in the school district, according to the U-T San Diego, and has suggested that it be leased out to other agencies in the area to raise funds to replace campus police cars that are getting old.
Barnett was also concerned that the MRAP was obtained without consultation with the school board or the general taxpaying public.
“The symbol of having an armored vehicle in the district is not the message we want to send to schools,” he told the paper. “But we have it now. Can we leverage that vehicle to fund something we really need — new patrol cars?”
The school district applied for a grant to obtain the heavily armored MRAP without cost under a U.S. Defense Department program called the 1033 Program that transfers excess and surplus military equipment to local police departments and public agencies. The paper further reported:
Gun mounts and any “offensive equipment” have been removed from the truck, which will be painted white — possibly with an ambulance-style red cross — and will be clearly marked as a San Diego Unified School District rescue vehicle in red lettering, according to the district.
Written by J. D. Heyes
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