REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

The district received the weapons through the same program that gave military equipment to the St. Louis County PD.

Rejoice, L.A. schoolchildren—your school police force no longer has access to grenade launchers. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest, announced Wednesday that it would relinquish the three launchers it obtained through a Pentagon program that gives surplus military equipment to police departments, including those that protect school districts.

The Associated Press reports that at least 26 school districts have participated in the program, which has distributed more than $5 billion in surplus military equipment since 1997. The program received widespread attention following last month’s unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Federal records show that schools in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Utah have also received surplus military materials.

L.A. Unified says it intends to keep 60 M16 rifles and one armored vehicle it received through the program. The vehicle, a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP), is often used in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect troops from bomb blasts.  

MRAPs in their natural habitat: the Iraq-Kuwait border. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

"That vehicle is used in very extraordinary circumstances involving a life-saving situation for an armed threat," District police Chief Steve Zipperman told the Associated Press. "Quite frankly I hope we never have to deploy it."

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Tech workers sit around a table on their laptops in San Francisco, California
    Life

    America’s Tech Hubs Still Dominate, But Some Smaller Cities Are Rising

    Despite established urban tech hubs, some smaller cities are attracting high-tech jobs with lower living costs, unique talent pools, and geographic diversity.

  2. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  3. Two men plant a young tree in a lot in Detroit.
    Environment

    Why Detroit Residents Pushed Back Against Tree-Planting

    Detroiters were refusing city-sponsored “free trees.” A researcher found out the problem: She was the first person to ask them if they wanted them.

  4. Equity

    How Structural Racism is Linked to Higher Rates of Police Violence

    It's not just implicit racial bias. According to a new study, state policies are also a determinant factor in police shootings that disproportionately target African Americans.

  5. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.