To the editor:
I've heard that the Lawrence school board is considering incorporating the junior ROTC (JROTC) program into the Lawrence high school curriculum. I've read that many school boards across the country are saying no to JROTC. JROTC is too expensive, too controversial and too much at odds with the goal of creating critical thinking students. There's an issue of gun-free schools, too. In some big city schools, JROTC student leaders became the gang leaders committing crimes!
JROTC units cost school districts tens of thousands of dollars annually per school. At times, the program requires expensive modifications to school facilities.
Ninety percent of all JROTC programs train students to fire rifles or pistols. This is implicitly teaching young people that guns in school are OK and violence is acceptable. JROTC students learn to march and obey without thinking. This is not preparation for employment in our high-tech society, but this is what the program emphasizes.
JROTC is in reality a recruitment program to the military, and approximately 50 percent of all graduates enter military service. JROTC is not designed for students, but is a program the military uses to gain access to our schools for recruiting purposes. Junior ROTC does not belong in Lawrence public schools.