VICTORY IN SAN FRANCISCO! JROTC WILL GO!

VICTORY! JROTC WILL GO!
Warmest congratulations to the San Francisco Board of Education!
Many thanks to all who showed up–the students who presented
over 800 signatures demanding an end to JROTC to the board–and
all those who spoke and those who did not have the chance to
speak. And all those who have worked so hard to get JROTC
our of our schools. A battle won!

Open letter and report to the S.F. Board of Education
by Bonnie Weinstein

Dear Board Members,

You have done a wonderful thing! After all these years, while we are
still stuck with military recruiters because of No Child Left Behind,
we can finally look forward to a more non-military environment for
our children without the addition of JROTC. I can also testify than
many students are put into JROTC against their will. In one counter-
recruitment workshop a freshman student told of how, since
she was new to the district and late for enrollment, she was assigned
to JROTC and hated it but feared speaking out about it–and she
was just a sample of the many I have spoken to who were not
in JROTC by choice. Now, finally, this will end.

I do have a lot of concern for the students who were at the meeting
last evening and who are disappointed by the vote. As a matter
of fact, they were extremely hostile–several of them physically
threatened Cristina Gutierrez, myself and others as we left–
it was scary to see them filled with so much hate. Of course, that’s
why we want JROTC out of our schools. (You may not be aware but
JROTC students were laughing when Cristina told of being tortured
by U.S. Military-trained Columbian troops.) I was also very
puzzled that their “teachers” were not there with them to counsel
them after the vote was taken and to monitor this threatening
and extremely disrespectful behavior.

(This is important to bring up because we were not speaking
to them on the way out–just among ourselves and we were
accosted by them screaming at the top of their lungs in our
faces with their fists raised and tight! We were standing with
an older woman with a cane and the students crowded around
us and began shouting and chanting and screaming in our
faces as we tried to leave. Cristina’s small stature came to
the waist of one of the boys who stood in front of us momentarily
barring the exit. There was a big screen in the lobby and the
students–some of whom have seen and talked to us before–
must have recognized us again from the screen and were furious
with our statements. I am very afraid for these students. They
need to be counseled by professionals. Their behavior exposes
the very real danger JROTC is to our student’s character and
well being.)

But this decision was an historical one. It was picked up by the
New York Times (See link to article below) and even Newsweek
sent a reporter. According to the Times article, “Lt. Cmdr. Joe
Carpenter, a Pentagon spokesman, has said he didn’t know
of any other school district having barred JROTC from its
campuses.”

So, we have come to the attention of the Pentagon!

Hopefully this will set a precedent just as our antiwar-anti-
military recruitment initiatives have done across the country.
This past election saw many cities across the East Coast pass
antiwar referendums.

But our battle is not yet over. The Army alone has a 1.53 billion-
dollar ad campaign contract with McCann/Erickson–a major
advertising agency–to launch a new recruitment campaign.
And, meanwhile, the No Child Left Behind act will be up for
grabs again in 2007. We must organize to abolish it!

But for your information I would like to give you two quotes
I didn’t have time to give you last night:

The Army JROTC text from their Leadership, Education and
Training manual page 87 states, “When troops react to command
rather than thought, the result is more than just a good-looking
ceremony or parade. Drill has been and will continue to be the
backbone of military discipline.” And from the Navy JROTC Naval
Science text page. 24, the Navy calls for, “…loyalty to those
above us in the chain of command whether or not we agree
with them.”

This can be found at: http://www.objector.org/jrotc/why.html

Your decision last evening will go a long way toward bringing
this kind of non-thinking to an end. We have seen the results
of JROTC on our children and it isn’t very pretty.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein, www.bauaw.org