Does the military belong in public schools?

Filed under: Teens, Day Care & Education

One of my favorite memories of high school was riding around downtown San Francisco with a bunch of guys in the back of a pickup truck, each of us carrying a rifle. The looks we got from passersby were priceless. Of course, the guns were not live weapons; we were carting them to the Bill Graham auditorium for the annual JROTC drill competition.

I actually learned a fair bit from my time in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps. I learned to avoid the hazing that went on regularly. I learned to take a nap while marching. I learned to disassemble, clean, and reassemble a rifle. Most importantly, I learned that the military and I were not at all meant for each other. That was an extremely valuable lesson.

In the near future, however, students in San Francisco will no longer be able to enjoy the same lessons I endured. There will be no marching up and down the school yard. There will be no inspections to make sure that belt buckles are so shiny they can be used as a weapon to blind one's enemy. There will be no more live ammunition on school campuses.

San Francisco's school board voted last fall to phase out the program, but have pushed the deadline back a year due to not having a replacement program ready. There are a number of groups who oppose the JROTC program, saying it's nothing more than a fancy military recruitment program (well, duh!), that it allows discrimination, and that the curriculum is substandard.

Personally, I pretty much agree; overall, I think that really has no place in a public school. There are aspects of the program that I enjoyed and that are definitely worth including in a replacement, but there are a lot that are, in my opinion, detrimental. Still, it seems there is a lot of support for the program out there. What is it like elsewhere? What was your experience, if any, with it? Do you see the JROTC program as a valuable addition to the public school system or is it a detriment?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.