What Every School District Needs…

Via NPR:  San Diego School District’s New 18-Ton Armored Vehicle Creates Stir

The six-wheel Caiman MRAP has an official value of around $733,000. But the San Diego school district paid only about $5,000 to transport it, according to inewsorce.org, a website that partners with NPR member station KPBS.”

Even if one takes at face value the notion that this is just the district taking some free stuff from the feds that they will never really use, it is a sad commentary that the gift that the district is getting isn’t educational materials worth roughly three-quarters of a million dollars, but rather a mine-resistant vehicle.

FILED UNDER: Education, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Hal_10000 says:

    Not just them. LA has a mine-resistant vehicle, assault weapons and grenade launchers. Clearly this is justified by today’s superpredator student armed with assault weapons. Or terrorist or drugs or something.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I don’t know. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they’re more familiar with their students than I am.

    Is this a primary district?

  3. John Burgess says:

    Ever since the 1960s and Tinker, the Gates of Hell have been opened. What’s a poor school district to do in the face of such potential student opposition?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hal_10000: Clearly this is justified by today’s superpredator student armed with assault weapons green tea and skittles. Either that or just some cheap cigars.

  5. beth says:

    I didn’t go back and read the source article but who is supposed to operate and maintain this? Does the school district actually have MRAP employees on its payroll or is the local police force responsible for that part?

  6. beth says:

    Oh okay it’s the school district police force that bought it. How sad that we live in a world where the school district has to have its own police force.

  7. ratufa says:

    Even if one takes at face value the notion that this is just the district taking some free stuff from the feds that they will never really use…

    There is no such thing as “free stuff” of this nature. If you ever plan on using it, you have to maintain it so it’s ready to use when needed, buy fuel for it, find a place to store it where it’ll be close to where you expect it to be used, etc.

  8. rudderpedals says:

    @ratufa: And the folks have to stay current on the toys and you know what that means. Playtime!

  9. ernieyeball says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hey! Watch out now. Nine year old girls with Uzis are a force to reckon with.

  10. Hal_10000 says:


    We don’t. Crime is down to 1950’s levels and school violence is way down as well. We live in a world where everyone claims to need their own police force and can find spineless politicians cosy enough with the law enforcement/prison industrial complex to fund it.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000: Exactly. Guy I worked with years ago rode as a civilian volunteer with a county park police force. The force was formed because they had a surplus at the end of a budget year they needed to burn. Up ’til then, the sheriff had been fearlessly patrolling the parks to everyone’s satisfaction.

  12. Tyrell says:

    This would make a perfect vehicle to take students on field trips.
    “Take the bus, and leave the polluting to us”

  13. JKB says:

    I looked up some of the costs to these things. Apparently, DoD will provide parts, but the district will have to find a specialize mechanic as well as a heavy equipment shop that can handle the weight. They get 6 MPG, so you want to keep them close or truck them the distance. Have a real tendency to roll over especially with novice drivers. Can’t do more than a 30 degree slope due to rollover. Oh and at 19 to 24 tons, these things will collapse bridges. Oh and they require special training in egress after a rollover.

    Almost forgot. They have air-assist on the doors so if you grab the handle while entering, it’ll slam the door on you. I expect a door that requires air-assist is not something you want to get squashed with.

  14. JKB says:


    And most important, they have special locks on the doors and hatches to keep the bad guys out, but they also will keep the fire department out as well.

  15. anjin-san says:

    Meanwhile, teachers are paying for school supplies out of pocket.

  16. Franklin says:

    I haven’t really commented on this because it’s so sad.

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