American Ideals Processing: Current Events

Children's Rights Groups Urge Defense Program to Stop Giving School Cops Military Hardware

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After many letters to Department of Defense officials, school police changes are occurring all over the country. Many school police forces have been receiving equipment such as M16s, grenade launchers, assault style rifles, armored vehicles, and more. The weapons had been found in schools in California, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Michigan. The NAACP's Legal Defense and Education Fund had signed a complaint letter about this, saying this needed to stop. They, and many others are working to stop this misuse of military weapons.

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Many say that military grade weapons do not belong in a school environment. Many say common weapons such as tasers and pepper spray are already misused without bringing military weapons into the mix. Manuel Criollo, an organizer with the Labor-Community Strategy Center, told the L.A. school district they should return the military hardware. “The intersection of criminalization and militarization in our schools should be rejected,” he said. The L.A. police chief is now looking into whether the vehicle and grenade launchers are necessary. Deborah Fowler, deputy director of Texas Appleseed, said these weapons are opposing efforts to prevent force against students. She says use of force in schools is often towards young people of color and students with disabilities. An officer had already shot a young, unarmed black teen named Michael Brown, which led to a protest. This suggests lack of rights and freedom (liberty) relating to students in general, and certain types of children as well.

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