In a recent article, Federal Programs Supplies Surplus Military Gear to School, school district police personnel receive Pentagon surplus military gear. In response to school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Columbine and elsewhere, schools have responded by receiving high-powered rifles, armored cars, and other military equipment instead of needed school supplies for children.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has stock piled grenade launchers, M16 rifles and a multi-ton armored vehicle. The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District received from the Pentagon two Humvees, a cargo truck, power generators, and other equipment to support its own SWAT team. In the Salt Lake County Utah Granite School District each member of the security department has rifle. The list is not conclusive because many school district are not required to report the militarization of their security personnel. However, it is law to make publicly available all school supplies.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Education Fund, and Texas Appleseed wrote an open letter calling for an end to the Pentagon militarization of schools. in the letter they wrote, “Adding the presence of military-grade weapons to school climates that have become increasingly hostile due to their over reliance on police to handle routine student discipline can only exacerbate existing tensions”. It looks like we are trading school supplies for weapons.

School supplies are the necessary ingredient for the learning process to take place. Many of our urban schools have become militarized while sacrificing the need for additional school supplies. If we look at school budgets from a historical perspective, we can conclude that there has been a one hundred fold increase in spending on security, while spending on salaries and school supplies has diminished.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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