Articles Mast


JROTC Threatening to Invade More Schools

  • 716 schools are on the national target list,
    two are in San Diego.

Previous Alerts
The Junior Reserve Officers Training program is the Pentagon's most effective tool for both military recruitment and youth indoctrination. Besides producing a very high rate of enlistment among student participants, JROTC substitutes militarism for civilian education and seeks to affect young people's views on a wide range of social and political issues.

The Pentagon and Congress are pushing to expand this indoctrination program and there are now 716 high schools waiting to receive new JROTC units. A list of the schools has been compiled by the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors and is being posted at the Web site of AWOL, an anti-militarist youth ‘zine (

Two high schools are targeted for new JROTC units in COMD’s home area of San Diego: Patrick Henry High School is on the waiting list for a Navy JROTC unit and Will Crawford High School is waiting for an Army JROTC unit.

COMD and other local groups are waging a letter-writing campaign to convince the principals at these schools to withdraw their JROTC applications. Letters are also being directed to the San Diego school board, which must approve new JROTC contracts. Ten of San Diego City’s 15 high schools already have JROTC. It is believed that at least two members of the five-person school board would be reluctant to add more JROTC units in San Diego. The last two times board members cast votes on the issue, JROTC prevailed by only a one-vote margin. Two new members have joined the board since then.

Patrick Henry, which is in the Del Cerro/SDSU area, has had an application in for Navy JROTC for several years. One teacher, who opposes the program, says that the school is signing students up for it and preparing to modify the necessary buildings in anticipation that JROTC will begin in September of 2001.

Will Crawford, located south of SDSU and in the Chollas Park area, has a new principal who was not at the school when the application was submitted to the Army. It is hoped that she will be persuaded to withdraw her school from the waiting list.

Anyone who would like to be notified if school board hearings are scheduled should contact COMD. In the meantime, San Diego residents, especially students, parents and military veterans, are urged to write to the schools and the school board. Write to:

SDUSD Board of Trustees
4100 Normal St., San Diego, CA 92103

Maria Theodore, Principal
Patrick Henry High School
6702 Wandermere Dr., San Diego, CA 92120

Mary Jo Asbury, Principal
Crawford High School
4191 Colts Way, San Diego, CA 92115

Below is a summary of some points you might make in your letters:

1. Through JROTC, the Pentagon drains money from our schools. The class is normally taken by students as a substitute for physical education, but unlike PE, JROTC requires classroom space and TWO teachers for only 100-150 students. The federal government pays for less than half of JROTC teacher salaries, while the remaining cost, plus ALL of the taxes and benefits for TWO teachers, comes out of the local school's own budget. A survey by the American Friends Service Committee found that the average cost for a JROTC instructor team to a host school was $76,000 in 1998-99, more than twice what the military estimated. And each school must also provide the necessary facilities (e.g., a classroom, office, firing range, weapons room, supply room and drill area) and any required support staff.

2. There is no evidence that JROTC helps keep students in school, as some of its proponents have claimed. The dropout statistics cited by the JROTC program have been incomplete and offer no valid evidence that the program reduces the number of dropouts. It can also be argued that other programs, like music, athletics and counseling services, reach a greater number of students and are more deserving of support for their value in motivating students to stay in school.

3. JROTC falls short of the educational standards we expect from our schools. Curriculum materials are created by the Pentagon, and the local school district has no control over textbook content. A committee appointed by San Diego Unified to review Air Force JROTC textbooks in 1994 found that the books contained numerous inaccuracies and distortions. Very few JROTC teachers have education degrees. In fact, the JROTC credential doesn't require a college degree or even passage of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (which is required of other teachers).

4. JROTC can limit students' chances of getting into college. JROTC is not an "academic" subject and is not counted towards entrance requirements for University of California and California State University schools. Students can hurt their chances of college acceptance by taking JROTC instead of academic electives. JROTC grades are even excluded when computing grade point average for student aid eligibility in California.

5. JROTC is military training and does not belong in our educational system. Our schools should uphold democratic values and the principle of civilian rule. Instead of teaching these values and critical thinking skills, JROTC emphasizes military values and teaches students to give and obey orders unquestioningly.

6. JROTC propagandizes students. Reviews of JROTC materials have revealed that they present students with a one-sided, partisan view of political and historical events. Schools have a responsibility to refrain from giving support to one side in such controversies.

7. By supporting JROTC, our schools support discrimination. People of color in the military experience discrimination in promotions and job assignments, and the military officially discriminates based on gender and sexual orientation. Because people who are openly gay are not allowed to be in the military, and because JROTC only employs retired officers as teachers, JROTC itself is guilty of employment discrimination and violates the anti-discrimination policy of the San Diego Unified School District.

8. JROTC teaches the wrong lessons about how to solve conflict. With today's problem of gangs and teen violence, our schools should be teaching students how to solve conflicts nonviolently. JROTC conditions students to accept violent solutions and, in many schools, teaches them how to use guns through marksmanship training.

For more general information about JROTC, contact:

AFSC Youth & Militarism Program, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102;

CCCO, 630 20th St., #302, Oakland, CA 94612;

Anti-ROTC Resource Page,

This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (

About Us - Articles - Draft NOtices - Youth - Militarism - Publications - Products - Links - Contact - Home