JROTC TEACHES SCHOOL CHILDREN HOW TO KILL EACH OTHER
Pat Elder, DC Activist - Meeting with activists in May, Sherry Ulery, Chief of Teaching and Learning for DC Public Schools, acknowledged that the school system currently operates live firing ranges in half of the system's public high schools. The firing ranges, which are affiliated with the Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps program uses CO2 - propelled pellet rifles.
The U.S. Army has defended the use of these weapons, insisting they are safe, under proper supervision. The issue of teaching automatic weaponry in the schools hasn't managed to cause much of a fuss because it seems most teachers and administrators feel it's better for the children to learn how to fire automatic weapons in school than it is for them to learn about them in the streets.
San Diego Union Tribune A 14-year-old boy was severely wounded during a sleepover in Santee early yesterday when another boy shot him in the face with an air-powered pellet rifle. Anthony Martinez suffered paralysis on the left side of his body, but doctors expected him to survive, his mother said yesterday. They anticipate he will need physical therapy to regain full use of his body, she said. . . Anthony graduated from Chet Harritt School in Santee and is preparing for his freshman year at West Hills High School. His mother said he is enrolled in the school's ROTC program.
Committee of Conscientious Objectors - School boards
across the country, from Richmond, CA to Roane County, WV, are
saying no to the Junior Reserve Officers Training Program. They're
finding JROTC too controversial, too likely to promote violence,
too expensive, too controlled by Washington, too discriminatory,
and too much at odds with the goal of creating critically-thinking
students in gun-free schools. . .
Instead of an alternative to violence, JROTC brings guns into the schools. Often, JROTC teaches students to use them. Students in a JROTC unit in Long Beach formed a military-style gang and murdered one of their members. In Detroit, a student shot another student in the hall of the school on the orders of the student gang (and JROTC) leader. In Arizona, a camouflage-clad JROTC student murdered 9 Buddhist monks. In SF, CA, a student's eardrum was broken in a hazing ritual that had gone on, with JROTC instructors' knowledge, for years.
Ninety percent of all JROTC programs train students to fire rifles or pistols. All of them drill with guns and teach military history, customs, traditions, and beliefs. In JROTC, too many kids learn, from example, that violence is acceptable.
The Army JROTC text, LET 1 (Leadership, Education, and Training), p. 87, states, "When troops react to command rather than thought, the result is more than just a good-looking ceremony or parade. Drill has been and will continue to be the backbone of military discipline." Almost all schools feel that one of their primary missions is to teach critical thinking. Yet JROTC promotes unquestioning, amoral obedience. The Navy JROTC text, Naval Science 1, p. 24, calls for "loyalty to those above us in the chain of command, whether or not we agree with them."
The Pentagon dictates JROTC curriculum, textbooks, and course content. JROTC instructors are often paid higher net salaries despite not having to meet District qualification standards. JROTC instructors aren't required to have college degrees. They are not credentialed in the academic subjects that JROTC claims to teach.
Fifty-four percent of JROTC participants nationwide are students of color. JROTC graduates are recruited directly into the lowest military ranks. The military targets low-income schools in the same way tobacco & alcohol companies target low-income communities. The results are equally deadly. Half the military's front-line troops are people of color.
The Army JROTC textbook LET 3, p. 185, trumpets, "Fortunately for the Army, the government policy of pushing the Indians farther west then wiping them out was carried out successfully." In addition to this celebration of brutal racism, women are almost invisible in JROTC textbooks. Veterans with disabilities and gay veterans are excluded from receiving the Pentagon authorization required to become a JROTC instructor. JROTC Discriminates
JROTC discriminates against students and instructors who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, people with disabilities and immigrants.
Sam Smith, Mission Creep, 1996 - Much of the military's intrusion [into civilian life] has been accomplished without public notice. For example, the Pentagon has greatly expanded JROTC programs. Last year, the American Friends Service Committee found retired military personnel teaching approximately 310,000 students, ages 14 and up, in about 2200 high schools (with another 700 on the docket). As the AFSC pointed out:
"Public schooling strives to promote respect for other cultures, critical thinking and basic academic skills in a safe environment. In contrast, JROTC introduces guns into the schools, promotes authoritarian values, uses rote learning methods, and consigns much student time to learning drill, military history and protocol, which have little relevance outside the military."
And what are these cadets being taught? Says the report:
"A comparison of the JROTC curriculum and two widely used civilian high school civics and history textbooks demonstrates that the JROTC curriculum falls well below accepted pedagogical standards. Units on citizenship and history are strikingly different from standard civil texts on these subjects.
"For example, . . . the JROTC text portrays citizenship as being primarily achieved through military service, provides only a short discussion of civil rights; and downplays the importance of civilian control of the military. . . .
"In comparison to the civilian history text, historical events in the JROTC curriculum are distorted . . History is described as a linear series of accomplishments by soldiers, while the progress engendered by regular citizens is marginalized. America's wars are treated as having been inevitable.
"While it claims to provide leadership training with broad relevance, in fact the JROTC curriculum defines leadership as respect for constituted authority and the chain of command, rather than as critical thinking and democratic consensus-building . . . Finally, the text encourages the reader to rely uncritically on the military as a source of self-esteem and guidance.
Further, at a time that schools are trying desperately to discourage violence, the JROTC is teaching students how to kill more effectively."
And just where did the idea come from for the expansion of military indoctrination in our high schools? From none other than that very media model of a major modern general: Colin Powell.
Following the LA uprising in 1992, writes Steven Stycos in the Providence Phoenix, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "proposed a massive expansion of the program. Powell urged the new units be targeted to inner-city youth as an alternative to drug use and gang membership." In New England the number of students involved nearly tripled.
Was Powell seeking citizen officers to balance the academy-trained military? Absolutely not. The JROTC students are grunt-fodder. Besides, while referring to ROTC as "vital to democracy," Powell closed 62 college-based ROTC units during this same period. The inevitable result was that the proportion of academy-trained officers rose and the role of the citizen-officer diminished.