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In conversation with Microsoft Copilot Ai: Considering involuntary JROTC Placements into US High Schools in 2024

Image by Microsoft DesignerJune 5, 2024 / NNOMY office & Microsoft Copilot Ai - The following article is a Q & A conversation between the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth office and the Microsoft Copilot artificial intelligence program asking questions about the expanding practice`of involuntary placement of marginalized community youth into Junior Reserve Officer Training corps programs in their high schools without reasonable consent either by the legal guardians of or the students themselves. Some of the conclusions that the Ai program comes to are revealing in its programmed biases to maintain a balanced viewpoint.

NNOMY office: Why are U.S. school districts allowing their poorer high schools, nationally, to place youth into JROTC without consent by parents and students?

Microsoft Copilot:  The issue of Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs in schools is a complex one, and opinions vary. Here are some key points:

  1. Local Decision-Making:
    • The decision to allow JROTC programs often rests with individual school districts or even specific high schools.
    • In Portland Public Schools (PPS), for instance, the board voted to allow high schools the option of adding JROTC programs, but it doesn’t automatically bring JROTCs into all schools. Each school can decide whether to implement it1.
    • This local autonomy allows schools to tailor their educational offerings based on their unique circumstances.
  2. Arguments Against JROTC:
    • Critics argue that JROTC can disproportionately target students with limited options after high school.
    • Some believe that military recruiters and JROTC representatives use these programs to indoctrinate students at a young age, potentially influencing their career choices.
    • Opponents also highlight concerns about militarization within schools and the impact on students’ autonomy.
  3. Arguments in Favor of JROTC:
    • Supporters view JROTC as a positive resource for students who want or need it.
    • Some veterans credit JROTC with providing structure, discipline, and opportunities they couldn’t find elsewhere.
    • They emphasize that JROTC participation is voluntary and can offer valuable skills and experiences.
  4. Historical Context:

In summary, the decision to include JROTC programs in schools involves balancing various perspectives, including concerns about consent, military influence, and educational benefits1. Ultimately, it’s up to each community to weigh these factors and make informed choices.

SD Concilio regarding SDUSD JROTC enrollment

Below is the latest in our struggle with the San Diego school district over JROTC enrollment.  Basically, we were double crossed by district staff after we negotiated an agreement to make changes in the JROTC enrollment consent form. We don't know for certain, but I strongly suspect it was the JROTC program manager who was calling the shots and vetoed the changes that would have presented negative facts about the program. This is the consequence of allowing military programs in schools. - Project YANO


 

San Diego Chicano/Latino Concilio on Higher Education

San Diego, California

 

VIA EMAIL

 

May 24, 2024

 

TO: Board of Education, San Diego Unified School District

 

 

Concilio San DiegoThis correspondence reflects the analysis and advocacy of the San Diego Chicano/Latino Concilio on Higher Education that challenge the U.S. military's effort to maintain JROTC programs through the enrollment of working-class Chicano/Latino students. We are expressing our great disappointment in the San Diego Unified Schools' decision to support such enrollment, a practice that clearly undermines our community's efforts to increase college attendance and success among local Chicano/Latino students. We have attempted to work with the district to resolve this issue, but the district's recent actions have undermined our collaboration.

On May 10, 2023, our SD Concilio and other representatives of a broader, concerned coalition met with SDUSD board member Richard Barrera and the superintendent's chief of staff, Enrique Ruacho. Also present were Jennifer Roberson and one other administrative staff member. We discussed evidence that the San Diego Unified School district was "auto-enrolling" students into JROTC courses, often at schools with a significant enrollment of Chicano students. Such auto-enrollment of students in JROTC is a violation of the State of California's Education Code, Section 51750. At the meeting, there was a consensus among all present that auto-enrolling students in JROTC does indeed violate the state's education code.

 

We also had an extensive discussion of what constitutes student and parent "consent" that enables students to enroll in JROTC. It was and remains our contention that district schools currently utilize an enrollment permission form that does not constitute authentic, fully informed consent for students and parents.

 

On August 29, 2023, the SDCS Board of Education approved a resolution that included the following language (emphasis added):

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the fully informed consent of the student and the student's legal guardian shall be obtained via a signed consent form that is submitted to the high school before the student is enrolled in JROTC; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any form used to obtain such consent shall acknowledge that the program is a voluntary, non-academic elective that cannot be required, and provide a method for the student and legal guardian to indicate whether or not JROTC is being chosen in place of regular physical education; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any such consent form shall identify JROTC as a leadership program designed by the military and conducted by retired military officers, and present a complete and accurate description of the program's special requirements and expectations that are imposed on students, including the scope of voluntary activities and time commitments that may fall outside regular school hours.

After the board resolution was adopted, we became aware that the consent form that was used for the 2023-2024 school year was not consistent with the sections of the resolution quoted above, especially the highlighted elements. On January 2, 2024, we sent the board a letter requesting major revisions in the enrollment form as soon as possible, and we asked to be allowed to participate in that process. Instead of being invited to discuss what would be included in the next version of the consent form, we were notified on January 18 that it had already been revised by district staff and that it would be sent to schools for 2024-2025 enrollments. When we reviewed the revised form, we saw that it did not fully reflect the spirit or letter of the board's JROTC enrollment resolution.

The Military’s Myth of Black Freedom

Nicole Young argues that Black people’s conscription into America’s endless war-making machine only ensures they will never be safe.

May 27, 2024 / Nicole G. Young / Yes! Solutions Journalism - "Black people, we were never patriots; we were pragmatists,” a friend said to me recently when we talked about both of our grandfathers’ years of military service and their reverberating effects in our lives. In a lot of ways I agree with her. While class mobility certainly drives many Black people into the military, it would be disingenuous to claim our participation is purely mercenary. The United States military promises Black people stability via economic security. However, there is an implied second promise: that through military service, Black people can access honor in our daily lives, in a country that does not treat us honorably as the default. But decades of Black participation in the U.S. military have highlighted the ways that this country has never intended to make good on either of these promises. 

My grandfather chose the military to continue a family legacy started by his father and other family members, and presumably to ensure that his future children and grandchildren would have access to the middle class. For most of my life—as a Black woman from the South, raised in a military town—I also believed in the guarantees made to Black military families. It took me far too long to understand that the drumbeat of war could not be relied upon. In fact, for Black people, the only thing that our conscription into America’s perpetual war-making machine actually ensures is that we will never be safe. 

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