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Washington Post Reports on LDF Letter Condemning Surplus Weapon Transfers to Public Schools

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In the Washington Post's article "School police across the country receive excess military weapons and gear" Janel George explains “This isn’t just about the weapons, it’s also about inserting these weapons in school climates that are already fraught with tension and hostility between students of color and school police. It’s about inserting that and exacerbating those tensions.”

The article reports on the letter spearheaded by LDF and Texas Appleseed, that has revealed newly discovered data which shows that 22 school districts in Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, and Utah are participating in the 1033 program, which provides military surplus to local law enforcement organizations.

From the Washington Post article:

The Defense Department program accused of fueling the militarization of local law enforcement is stirring controversy again, this time for providing equipment and weapons to school police.

Law enforcement agencies affiliated with at least 120 schools, colleges and universities have received gear through the program, according to a Washington Post review of data from 33 states. The items received include at least five grenade launchers, hundreds of rifles and eight mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, the hulking machines designed to withstand the kind of roadside attacks seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In some cases, the equipment has been altered and its use limited to a narrow list of severe circumstances, such as campus shootings and natural disasters. But the practice of transferring weapons, particularly to schools, is drawing criticism for the tone it sets.

Click here to read the full piece.