To the editor:
This letter is in response to Mr. Larson's letter on Tuesday, Nov. 28. I've been at Fort Jackson, S.C., for the last six months so I've only recently heard about the school district considering adding JROTC to the curriculum. To USD 497: Go for it. It's a good program, one I wish they had when I went to LHS.
As for Mr. Larson, I'd like to address his concerns. First, any program is going to cost money to start. Any program is going to cost money to maintain. Nobody complains that we should cut English or gym because they cost taxpayers too much. Instead they weigh the benefits. English teaches better communication and comprehension while gym increases fitness and confidence the same goals of JROTC. JROTC is not "at odds with the goal of critical thinking students." Rather JROTC teaches students to be more dynamic thinkers so they can become better leaders.
While there may have been minor problems with some JROTC students and gang activity, this is the exception rather than the rule. Violence is NOT acceptable and weapons in the JROTC program do not "teach" otherwise. "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Exposure to weapons in JROTC does not increase the chance of another school shooting, contrary to what Mr. Larson would have us believe.
JROTC students don't learn to "march and obey without thinking." They are taught discipline. They are taught teamwork. They are taught to become the leaders of tomorrow. JROTC is, in a sense, a recruiting program. The military is a potential career for many, and thousands of officers in the military are a result of JROTC and ROTC. The skills taught in JROTC will be used in life, whether one becomes a teacher, lawyer, or military officer. Opportunity belongs in Lawrence public schools. JROTC belongs in Lawrence public schools
Marcus J. Kitos,
U.S. Army Reserves,