Why is the War Machine In Our Schools?


It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump’s response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.

The Armed Services Committees in Congress can stop the JROTC programs in our schools. Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry, of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, to take the war machine out of our schools!

Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.

The JROTC puts our children’s futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to “put a jump start on your military career.” Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development.

Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.

The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.

Onward in divestment,
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe

P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we’ll get you started!


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  • Kyle Stewart
    commented 2019-07-22 23:07:53 -0400
    Aside from being told they are better than everyone else which is already a huge violation, students actually act on this! There have been many complaints! Students are told exactly how to move, what to think, and how to act.

  • Kyle Stewart
    commented 2019-07-22 23:05:53 -0400
  • Kyle Stewart
    commented 2019-07-22 23:04:32 -0400
    Jrotc teaches nationalism, fear programming, violence, homophobia, and throwing yourself in front without taking care of your needs first. All of this is obvious. A sergeant told students involved in jrotc that they are better than everyone else in the building and that hey are a leg ahead of everyone else. These are both not only false, but inflated the children’s egos even more.
  • Jeremiah Perez
    commented 2018-03-21 11:02:00 -0400
    1. As a member of the marksmanship team at my respective JROTC, no one is training us to be killing machines. We kill pieces of paper in a controlled environment with every safety regulation possible. We constantly wear goggles to protect our eyes. We fire into wooden boxes designed to trap projectiles so they don’t ricochet back. We fire lead pellets and are not allowed to have food or drink on the range. We are constantly made to wash our hands to prevent lead poisoning due to handling these pellets. We are made to take an exam before we EVER handle an air rifle in class. And NO ONE who has not passed this exam is allowed on the range. There is a line not allowed to be crossed while shooting is commencing. We are taught how to safely use a weapon so that no one is hurt. We are not allowed to touch an air rifle until an extensive safety brief and practice period with other objects has been conducted.
    2. JROTC in no way asks you to join the military. It encourages you to follow your passions in whatever field you choose. While it’s true most people who join JROTC already have a desire to serve in the military long before they join the program, many cadets also opt to attend college or join the work force. JROTC instructors connect you with deans of colleges, administrators, employers, and yes recruiters, depending on what your goals and dreams are. You are in no way encouraged to join the military.
    3. Often times JROTC instructors were previously instructors in their respective branches who found a love for teaching. To say they have no previous background in teaching is completely false. Both of my instructors were previously drill instructors for their respective branches and have been teaching for close to a decade. Their sole job was to prepare kids barely older than us for the real world and for hard work, determination, and dedication. They love and care for each and every cadet under their command, and they are always there for us. JROTC is an outlet of family and love. Friendship, and companionship for many kids who otherwise don’t have that connection outside of the program. It creates a niche for many kids who would otherwise be outcasts and gives them something to look forward to throughout their week.
    4. While JROTC is militaristically structured, the kids are still kids and we are active members in our community and schools. Our school alone in our area has logged tens of thousands of hours of community service in the past decade, operating on a company of less than 200 cadets in that time. These things include community clean ups, food drives for the homeless, clothing drives for less fortunate people, toys for tots for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas, and other such activities that support and benefit the community. Many of our cadets serve on student councils, SCA, hold seats such as class president, and Vice President, and participate in various clubs that benefit the school community. The wear and care of our uniform creates a sense of responsibility, respect, and discipline. The participation of a drill team, or other team (which is completely voluntary) also gives you a sense of responsibility, discipline, and work ethic to be out practicing so much. We are like any other sports team. The medals, ribbons, and rank we earn give us a feeling of pride, and an ideal that everything in life is earned, not given. Adhering to the regulations of the uniform help us to abide by other regulations and become a productive citizen. Our individuality is encouraged and required to fulfill all aspects of a working community within each company. We encouraged singers, artists, writers, and other talents to perform at our functions, Our to provide the art and face of our unit.
    5. And finally, you should recall that three cadets were killed by this school shooter who was “Expertly trained.” While doing their best to help kids escape from the building. CADETS who’s core values were Honor, Courage, and commitment laid down their lives so other kids wouldn’t be gunned down and murdered by this psychopath. And in that sense, that’s exactly what our military members would do for you. Would take a bullet to preserve your freedoms, to preserve your way of life, and to preserve your right to not be killed. They preserve your right to even form this uneducated group. Without a military we would be swallowed by some country with a military and forced to obey their laws and their views. So remember all this when you call for the destruction of JROTC within our schools. No one is MAKING kids sign up, kids are VOLUNTEERING. To sign up. A recruiter is no worse than a college recruiter begging your child to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education they may or may not even get to use.
  • Jeremy Ma
    commented 2018-03-14 18:01:34 -0400
    Actually, the JROTC program is not allowed by law to teach marksmanship on campus or related to academic activities. The shooter learned rifle handling, safety, and marksmanship from a NRA grant-sponsored program.
  • Russ Harris
    commented 2018-03-14 17:42:26 -0400
    Why you were talking down about the JROTC program. You completely failed to remember a JROTC member was shot and killed while trying to help fellow classmates evacuate their shooting. That unarmed JROTC member did much more for those students than that local law enforcement resource officer did hiding outside behind his car.