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Indybay Feature
Wed Nov 15 2006 (Updated 11/23/06)
San Francisco Schools to Phase Out JROTC
JROTC to Be Out of SF Schools in Two Years
On December 7th, Bay Area United Against War will celebrate the recent victory over JROTC, with a potluck dinner at Compañeros del Barrio, at 474 Valencia St in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Board of Education voted on Tuesday, November 14th to phase out its JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) program over a two-tear period. It is believed that this is the first time any school district has eliminated an existing JROTC program. The Board of Education members who voted in favor of eliminating JROTC from San Francisco’s schools are (in alphabetical order) Dr. Dan Kelly, a Vietnam War resister; Sarah Lipson, a mother of school-aged children; Eric Mar, a very smart progressive thinker; and Mark Sanchez, the openly gay Commissioner who first proposed this idea. During the public comment section of the meeting, several different points were made to illustrate the negative effects of JROTC, and several more reportedly would have been brought up, had there been more time.

For instance, the presence of JROTC at schools provides a recruiting advantage to the military that is not available to other potential employers. This violates the school district’s policy of providing equal access and to all employers and granting preferential treatment to none. The Pentagon’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is discriminatory. One pro-JROTC speaker asked board members to go to Washington, DC with him to ask Barney Frank to help change "Don't ask/don't tell, as a way to revisit the banning proposal at a later date.

Many are opposed to the general militarization of American culture, and do not want it to be promoted in the schools. The State of California educational guidelines require schools to teach critical thinking skills. Some say that the fact that the military requires its personnel to obey orders without thinking violates California's educational requirement that students be taught critical thinking skills. An argument was made that JROTC prevents students from joining gangs or otherwise getting into trouble. The Board will examine other programs that help students by providing leadership preparation, self-esteem training, or other benefits. The school district will not suffer financially if JROTC is eliminated. No one has yet performed a cost-benefit analysis to calculate whether JROTC delivers better value on a per-dollar basis than other activities, e.g. afterschool programs aimed at preventing violence. Read more from Pat Gerber

Why Question the Military's JROTC Program, from CCCO | CCCO's Military Out of Our Schools Program | Rethinking Schools Article: No Child Left Unrecruited
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