Students Protest L.A. School Police Using Military Surplus Weapons
Student demonstrators chanted ‘Back to school, no weapons’ and ‘We want justice for our schools.’
At a Los Angeles Unified School District board meeting on July 31, cozens of students protested what some activists claim is the militarization of school police.
There were around 50 students who entered a school district board meeting to protest the arming of school police under the federal 1033 program, according to laschoolreport.com.
With some protesters in bullet proof vests, the group chanted things like “Back to school, no weapons” for the first 20 minutes of the meeting after hours of demonstrating outside the school district’s headquarters. Other times protesters demanded justice for the district and criticized the underfunding of education while security was increased.
Some board members were impressed by the demonstration, with board president Steve Zimmer at one point allowing the protest to continue and member Monica Garcia telling students “You may not get ‘yes’ now, but you were heard, we heard you. You are right to be leaders.”
George McKenna, who is also a member of the school board, challenged the protestors, saying “I have not seen this school police with M-16s on school site, and neither have you. I would hate the school police to make a 911 call because they cannot stand down to an over-armed person on campus.”
A protest organizer told board members he wanted an end to the 1033 program, which gives police forces surplus military equipment. Under 1033 the L.A. Unified School District has received a tank, three grenade launchers and dozens of M-16s. The district has returned the tank and grenade launchers.
Campus Safety Magazine has reported on the 1033 program in the past, which was curtailed by President Barack Obama in the wake of the police response to protest’s in Ferguson, Missouri last year.
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