Does the military belong in schools?

November 4th, 2013  

Topic: Does the military belong in schools?

I'm glad San Francisco voted to eliminate JROTC! What is your opinion of the JROTC program? Does it have a place in public education? Should the United Nations ban programs like this? I believe militarization of youth is unethical. It is unethical to teach kids that the military and war is cool! These militarized youth have better things to do! Rather than marching and throwing rifles these children could be studying for college or taking part in community activism. I say show JROTC to the door!
November 5th, 2013  
As someone who went through the Canadian equivalent of JROTC (Royal Canadian Air Cadets), and who turned into a productive and responsible member of society, I find that your argument has limited merit. While you might be correct with respect to having these programs embedded in public education, I have to disagree with you on the ethics (or lack thereof, as you seem to argue) and goals of youth military programs.

The aim of these programs is not "to teach kids that the military and war is cool", as you put it, but to provide an environment where teens are able to experience some aspects of military life. In doing so, they gain skills that can benefit them later on throughout life, regardless of what life or career path they choose, be it within the Armed Forces or not. During my entire time in cadets, I never once thought that "war was cool". By the time I was old enough to join cadets, I had already been present for enough Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the US) ceremonies to know that war is a horrible thing, and not once in the 6 years of cadets was I given the impression otherwise.

You claim that these "militarized youth" have better things to do. If anything, my being in cadets made me more motivated to get involved with the community and maintain high grades. My opportunities in uniform were greatly impacted by the effort I put into my normal life. Through cadets, I was afforded the opportunity of obtain my Private Pilot's License, and that was only because I showed the motivation and dedication both at home and during training.

While it is unethical (and illegal) to give children weapons and tell them to go kill people, I find absolutely no issues with providing the same children the opportunity to learn how to safely handle a weapon within a controlled environment, supervised by highly trained personnel. That way, if they were to come across an unsecure weapon during their daily life, they would know the potential danger and how to alleviate that risk.

Now, obviously my experience is limited to the Canadian equivalent of JROTC, but I imagine that the US (and other nation's) programs are similar, at least in their general aim Overall however, I don't agree that youth military programs should be banned. Perhaps separated from the public education system, but not eliminated entirely.
November 6th, 2013  
I participated in 4 years of JROTC when I was in high school and I can assure you that they are NOT teaching kids that "the military or war is cool". I'm not sure where you got that perception but it is absolutely wrong.

Do you know what this mission of JROTC is? Perhaps if you had done some research you would realize that the mission of JROTC is to teach young Americans to be better citizens. JROTC organizations regularly participate in community clean ups, toys for tots, community fund raisers for organizations like the Knights of Columbus, and many many others.

JROTC certainly does not militarize them either. At no point were we ever introduced to any type of military training other than leadership, close order drill, and physical fitness. Are you saying that learning about leadership, the discpline to execute close order drill, and being physically fit are bad things?

I went to a highschool that was in an inner city where we had an extremely high drop out rate. My freshman year my class started with over 1200 students, my graduating class was less than 400. I can't speak of statistics or have sources for what I'm about to point out, it's simply an observation I've made over the years, it seems that JROTC does a good job of keeping kids in school that would have either been taken by the streets, not graduated, or both. The instructors at my school held their cadets to high moral and ethical standards and pushed them to not only be better citizens, but better students and better members of their communities as well. Typically, the students who ended up joining the military would have likely joined the military whether they participated in JROTC or not.

It does serve a purpose. If you don't want your kids in JROTC, don't let them join. It IS an elective class. But, just because you likely deem anyone who wears a uniform that even looks like it could be associated with the military as "bad" doesn't mean it is. JROTC helped me understand how to be a member of a team and gave me awesome opportunities to lead that I would have never had in a high school environment.

As for your comment about weapons/firearms...It wasn't all that long ago that highschoolers were participating in shooting competitions and learning firearms safety as a requisite skill in US public schools. It's never a bad thing for someone to know how to react when dealing with anything that is dangerous. A firearms is tool. You wouldn't use any other tool without first knowing how to use it and handle it safely would you? Then why would it be any different with a firearm? That's just my opinion, which coupled with a $1.50 will buy me a cup of coffee.
November 6th, 2013  
JROTC/ CAP for led to me literally learning how to learn. A skill that is seldom picked up by many youth these days.

I was taught how to be on time for things, keep cool in tense situations in a professional manner, it helped me develop the traits to live a healthy lifestyle and how to push through difficulties to achieve stability in one's self and simply my life.

No, I won't preach that it changed my life and is the best merited program in exsistance, but I can say a majority of kids who go through the program don't really join the military, but instead do learn good study habits, how to use time management to succeed both in the workplace and the academic environment.

I am shocked as the older I get the more and more random bits of lessons learned during my time in the programs are resurfacing in both school and the workplace as an adult.

And like the military, it's all voluntary, nobody forces a child to join.
November 12th, 2013  
Interesting question. The people who have experienced it first hand and have positive things to say about it in this thread bring up some good points. My initial reaction is still such that when the country in question is involved in war, it could be mandatory. In any other case, people should seek it out themselves, as a personal initiative. Not have to deal with it through a school.

Physical training, learning about leadership and discipline is still obviously very possible without this. Perhaps not to the same degree without a military involvement, but one could question the necessity for that in peace time.

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