MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - With public schools across the United States receiving military equipment to improve security, Democrats have become increasingly concerned over the potential misuse of these weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"We saw at our hearing a real gap in training for police departments receiving equipment through the Pentagon's 1033 Program, which is even more troubling when we're talking about the potential for misuse of these military-grade weapons and MRAPs [Mine-Resistance Ambush Protected vehicles] in a school setting," Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
The hearing was convened to assess the wisdom of the 1033 Program, which was established by Congress in the early 1990s to permit law enforcement bodies to acquire surplus military ammunition.
It is feared that the provision of arms to schools could trigger a scenario similar to that of Ferguson, where security services used excessive force at protests held in the city over the death of the 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown, who was shot at least six times by a police officer.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Education Fund and Texas Appleseed together with two dozen other groups have written an open letter urging the 1033 Program to end the supply of arms to schools.
"Adding the presence of military-grade weapons to school climates that have become increasingly hostile due to their overreliance on police to handle routine student discipline can only exacerbate existing tensions," the letter stated. "We write to urge you to end the Department of Defense 1033 Program's transfer of military weapons to local school districts."