Elective Military Corps Programs in Schools Should Not Be Forced Upon Minority and Low-income Students

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On December 11, 2022 the New York Times printed its lead story titled, “ Thousands of Teens Are Being Pushed Into Military’s Junior R.O.T.C.”

The New York Times reviewed over 200 public records requests and found schools in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Mobile, Alabama were automatically enrolling students in JROTC. For those of us involved in counter-recruitment activism, this was not news In Chicago, several schools place all 9th grade students in JROTC. In San Diego, local activists addressed the issue of compulsory enrollment in 2008 only to see it resurface in 2021. The targeted schools serve mostly low-income and nonwhite students. The school-to-military pipeline, of which JROTC is a significant part, channels primarily economically disadvantaged and students of color into military careers over college or non-military occupations without being truthful about the real costs of military enlistment. In addition to forced enrollment and disingenuous recruitment practices, we are seeing documented cases of students being sexually abused by JROTC instructors in schools around the country. The New York Times reported on this issue in July, August, September, and November of 2022. The Times investigations have motivated several Senators, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, to call for more scrutiny of the program: specifically, its enrollment practices, problems with sexual abuse, biased curriculum, and its close relationship with the National Rifle Association. While Congressional action is important, it is critical that we take action at the local level. To this end, the Task Force To End Compulsory Military Training In Schools has put together this organizing packet for groups and individuals around the country wishing to investigate, challenge and change enrollment practices of JROTC. We want students to learn independence and critical thinking, not blind obedience.

Utilizing the JROTC Organizing Packet

"The JROTC Organizing Packet is a resource for community activists, concerned parents, and school administrators and teachers that wish to exert pressure on local school districts or individual middle and high schools to end the practice of placing youth, primarily those targeted from economically challenged families and communities of color, into Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs without parental notification or prior student consent.

See attached PDF