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Save JROTC in San Francisco

New JROTC High Schools in Chicago have proved their detractors wrong.  It's been a success story in one of the (if not "the") worst school systems in the entire country.  Jason, a graduate of a similiar program in San Francisco, asks for our help:

My name is Jason, and I’m an Active Duty 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army, serving in Germany, slated for a fun time in the Mountains of Afghanistan in the upcoming quarter. I’m a born and raised San Franciscan, and with that, I retain much of the politics of my home city. (Though I would hope this could only stimulate discussion between us, and not any kind of immediate dismissal of my request.)

I write concerning the JROTC program in the city of San Francisco. I’m a proud San Franciscan, and a proud Army Officer, but this really has me shaking my head. The politicos on the school board have taken it upon themselves to place politics before the good of the kids in the city, and terminate the program that does so much good for the students. A link to an article that discusses the issues is here:

The program gives to students in our public schools what they so desperately need, discipline and a sense of purpose. The arguments against the program are absolute bunk. First is of course the argument that the Military is anti gay. While there is a Don’t ask, Don’t tell, Don’t harass policy in place for military forces, JROTC has NO SUCH BAN on students, as the article above discusses. Second, the board argues that JROTC is a recruiting center for the Military, though evidence in the article easily disproves that claim. It’s all political. The far left wing members of the board have been trying to kill the program for almost 20 years, and now they undertake a cowardly move to kill a program that benefits fully 10% of the high school population in San Francisco every year.

I ask that you rally the members of the blogsphere, and that we push for common sense and reason to win over far left partisan politics and we keep JROTC in the high schools of San Francisco.            

Info from a group on who to write and why:

More information and facts for defending JROTC in San Francisco's High Schools are included after the Jump.

JROTC cannot discriminate in both student selection and instructor hiring on the basis of age, race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or disability. Cadet Command Regulation 145-2, the program’s governing document, specifically states this policy (CCR145-2 Paragraph 3-10a), and outlines punitive action (CCR145-2 Paragraph 3-10b,c). Furthermore, JROTC instructors are RETIRED military officers, and are therefore not bound by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Instructors can be openly gay/lesbian/bisexual if they choose, and still teach in our public schools.

2. JROTC is not a military preparedness program. CCR 145-2 specifically prohibits any tactical training, military weapons training, participation in live-fire exercises, and a variety of other combat-oriented subjects (CCR145-2 Paragraph 8-6).

3. JROTC is not a recruiting program. Recruiting is not part of the program’s mandate, and the instructors receive no benefit from cadets entering the military. And in San Francisco, students in JROTC are less likely to join the military than students outside of JROTC.

4. This is JUNIOR Reserve Officer Training Corps. UNLIKE Senior ROTC, JROTC has no role in preparing young people for military service. JROTC and SROTC are separate programs with completely different purposes.

5. Each school’s JROTC program participates in at least one service learning project every year. These projects both help the community and encourage students to recognize the changes that they can make in their environments. Examples include working at the Glide food kitchen in the Tenderloin, and participating in San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Training. The community at large will be hurt by this resolution.

6. The program has hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensed, cutting edge technology and materials for teaching life skills. Examples include the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) financial planning packet, the winning colors communication program, and the Personal Skills Profiler. These are irreplaceable programs not available anywhere else in the SFUSD.

7. The program’s curriculum teaches vital life skills unique to the public school system, including applied leadership, first aid, college planning (including how to pay for school without the military), financial planning, and interpersonal communications. No other class or after-school program in the city provides this level of resources for students.

8. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is not a military policy. It is federal law, passed by Congress, not an act of the Pentagon. If, as the resolution states, we should boycott any funding from discriminatory sources, then San Francisco should reject all federal funding, be it for education, welfare, or anti-terrorism. This kind of "logic" is absurd.

9. Eliminating San Francisco JROTC will not hurt the Pentagon in any way, shape or form. There are 700 schools nationwide on the waiting list for a JROTC program, and if SFJROTC is eliminated, it will simply be installed somewhere else. The only thing that will be hurt by the elimination of SFJROTC is the future of the program’s 1,625 students.

10. JROTC CANNOT EVER BE REPLACED. The program is accredited, and has over 90 years of history and refining. The sheer number of students involved in this political issue proves that JROTC is effective in training youth for leadership and civic involvement in their community. Because older students are directly responsible for the education of younger students, breaking the chain of students-teaching-students will put an unprepared generation in charge of running the replacement program. Furthrmore, any replacement program will have problems that may take another 90 years to work out. During this time, our youth will be the only ones that suffer.

Blackfive, I thank you for your time and consideration. Should you ever hit Germany sometime soon, look me up. I’ve got a cold beer waiting for you. I’ll see you on the high ground. Cheers.

Jason

2LT, IN

Platoon Leader

Alumnus, George Washington High School, Class of 2000

Proud member of the JROTC program for 4 years

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