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SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Unified School District has acquired a 14-ton armored war vehicle it plans to use as a search and rescue vehicle.

The M-RAP was acquired from central Texas through a government program for free after school police officers submitted a request to have it donated.

“It was provided to the district at no cost,” said Ursula Kroemer with the San Diego Unified School District. “We will have the red cross insignia on it so people will know it’s a safe haven on wheels.”

The US Marine Corps trained school resource officers on how to drive and use the M-RAP, and before it arrived to San Diego it was completely stripped of any gun or missile power.

“It can house a classroom of kids and get them out of harms way,” said Chief Rueben Little John with the San Diego Unified School District Police Department. “It’s not going to be used to destroy in any way. It’s for rescuing and searching for students.”

Officers say in the event of a school shooting, flood, wildfire or earthquake the M-RAP can be used to pull kids to safety. The inside of the vehicle will be filled with donated medical supplies to treat injured victims.

“We are told as adults to run fast, hide quietly and fight hard. Students can’t do that,” said Little John.

The tank normally costs $700,000, but again was acquired for free. It cost the district $5,000 to transport it from Texas, and school officials it will cost less than $1000 a year to maintain the M-RAP which is currently being housed at the bus yard in Kearny Mesa.