Articles

The Chicago Model of Militarizing Schools

J

June 30 2009 / BBVM / Truthout - For the past four years, I have observed the military occupation of the high school where I teach science. Currently, Chicago’s Nicholas Senn High School houses Rickover Naval Academy (RNA). I use the term “occupation” because part of our building was taken away despite student,parent, teacher and community opposition to RNA’s opening.

Senn students are made to feel like second-class citizens inside their own school, due to inequalities. The facilities and resources are better on the RNA side. RNA students are allowed to walk on the Senn side, while Senn students cannot walk on the RNA side. RNA “disenrolls” students and we accept those students who get kicked out if they live within our attendance boundaries. This practice is against Chicago policy, but goes unchecked. All of these things maintain a two-tiered system within the same school building.

This phenomenon is not restricted to Senn. Chicago has more military academies and more students in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps than any other city in the US. As the tentacles of school militarization reach beyond Chicago, the process used in this city seems to serve as a model of expansion. There was a Marine Academy planned for Georgia’s Dekalb County, which includes 10 percent of Atlanta. Fortunately, due to protest, the school has been postponed until 2010. Despite it being postponed, it is still useful to analyze the rhetoric used to rationalize the Marine Academy. Many of the lies and excuses used to justify school militarization in Chicago and Georgia may well be used in other cities as militarism grows.

JROTC: The Untold Story

October 28, 2008  / Marc Norton / BeyondChron -  “Without JROTC, I would not be where I am today: a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.” So writes Jason, a former JROTC cadet, in a recent Facebook post on the Keep JROTC Alive in San Francisco site. “As a young teenager,” he continues, “the JROTC program helped me develop discipline, leadership skills, and values which I continue to use today. So let’s keep the JROTC program alive!”

The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) was created 90 years ago, at the height of the hysteria of World War I, when President Woodrow Wilson needed troops for the “war to end all wars.” The program was reauthorized in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, who needed troops for yet another doomed military adventure, this time in the jungles of Vietnam. Today, under the reign of yet another wartime President, JROTC’s operational budget has more than doubled.

JROTC was, is, and always will be, a military recruitment program. The “discipline, leadership skills, and values” that Jason and other JROTC advocates tirelessly praise are, for many, nothing more than a come-on for recruitment.

3 decline to take military test

Cedar Ridge High's principal says they weren't being disciplined in being sent to a suspension classroom

 HILLSBOROUGH - Three high school students were sent to an in-school suspension classroom after refusing to take a military aptitude test at Cedar Ridge High School on Tuesday.

Principal Gary Thornburg said the students were not being disciplined, but rather that the in-school suspension teacher was the staff person available to supervise them. More than 300 juniors spent two hours Tuesday and again Wednesday in the school cafeteria taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

Thornburg said the test, which the U.S. military calls the ASVAB, is traditionally administered to juniors at his school and is part of a larger career assessment program.

The military provides the tests, proctors and grading without charge. In exchange, the scores are sent to military branch recruiters and the school.

"This happens to be the best career assessment we've found," Thornburg said.

By federal law, the contact information for any junior or senior who doesn't sign an opt-out form is passed along to recruiters by the school district.

Thornburg said since students can keep their information private, he didn't understand why some would not want to take the test. The results are discussed with students in school advisory groups that can help them identify study and career choices, he said.

"I don't have a lot of patience with people who are refusing to take the assessment -- or refusing anything that their entire grade level is participating in," Thornburg said.

Dakota Ling, one of the juniors sent to the suspension classroom, said he didn't think he would benefit from the test. Ling, an honors student, has a better than 4.0 grade point average and plans to become a graphic designer.

"I just really don't want the military to have all the info it can on me," he said.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction does not encourage schools to give the ASVAB to students who have not expressed an interest in the military, spokeswoman Linda Fuller said.

Students in Durham and Wake counties have to sign up for the test. So do students in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and at the Orange County school system's other high school, Orange.

When it opened in 1996, East Chapel Hill High School tested all sophomores, said Winslow Carter, career development coordinator.

"We had such an outrage from the parents and the community that we didn't do that anymore," Carter said. He said he still thinks the aptitude test is valuable for nonmilitary career guidance.

Now, fewer than 10 students a year take the test at East Chapel Hill High School.

Chapel Hill Army recruiter Sgt. Jason Earl has seen that drop off in many area schools. He said recruiters understand that everyone who takes the test may not be interested in military service and that if a household asks them not to call back, they generally don't.

"We're not out here to harass," Earl said.

 


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (919) 932-2005
 
 http://www.newsobserver.com/print/thursday/city_state/story/943800.html
 

Share this

FacebookTwitterStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedInRSS FeedPinterestInstagramSnapchat
The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY) is supported by individual contributions and a grant by the Craigslist Charitable Fund - 2023 Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. NNOMY websites are hosted by The Electric Embers Coop.

Gonate time or money to demilitarize our public schools

FAIR USE NOTICE

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues connected with militarism and resistance. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Contact NNOMY

NNOMY

The National Network Opposing

the Militarization of youth
San Diego Peace Campus

3850 Westgate Place
San Diego, California 92105 U.S.A.
admin@nnomy.org  +1 619 798 8335
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12 Noon till 5pm PST
Skype: nnomy.demilitarization

Mobile Menu