I’d like to offer an alternative perspective on JROTC.

First of all the JROTC program is a deceptive recruiting tool designed to lure enlistees and not officers into the military. Despite the word “officer” in the program’s title, the vast majority of students lured into the military by this program end up as enlistees or what is known as “cannon fodder.”

It is taught by highly paid noncertified teachers. Its claims of teaching leadership skills is dubious. After spending four years in the Navy, I saw either no or poor leadership skills, but I did see a lot of followership skills. Even if JROTC did teach leadership skills, why can’t these skills be taught in other parts of the curriculum? The JROTC program is a school-to-military pipeline.

JROTC also has used a curriculum that is antithetical to diversity. For example, the Army JROTC textbook LET 3, p. 185, says that: “Fortunately for the Army, the government policy of pushing the Indians farther west then wiping them out was carried out successfully.” I wonder if Fall Mountain School has a peace and justice studies program, service learning program or conflict resolution program, or if it uses Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States” in its history courses.

Instead of indoctrinating our youth to become soldiers, why don’t we humanize them by expanding art and music programs? We need to stop using our schools to militarize our youth. To me, it’s a form of child abuse. If we look at history, we can see how youth have been militarized at a young age. In Nazi Germany, some militarized youth even turned their own parents in to the authorities for espousing liberal views.

The military must stop molesting our youth and preparing them to fight perpetual, failed wars of choice. The world needs more peacemakers and fewer soldiers.

LEO SANDY

Chesterfield