Tag Archives: JROTC

JROTC prelude

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We don’t know exactly how long our children have been learning military protocol as part of their high school curriculum, but JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp) has been in NYC schools for a long time. Established in 1916 as part of the National Defense Act, our research tells us that there has been a JROTC program in New York City schools since at least 1994 when what was to become one of the largest JROTC programs in the country opened at Francis Lewis High School in Queens. It didn’t take long before it was a hugely popular program.

Even though many aspects of the program are popular with children and their parents, members of GPB and other groups vehemently oppose the military in our schools in any of its many guises–whether it be a JROTC program or recruiters roaming the halls or being on the corner when children leave for the day.

We want our children to be students, not soldiers. And we don’t want our children encouraged to kill other people’s children. We believe that militarization should be kept out of high schools and that any positive attributes the program may have should be available to all children. Given our certainty regarding the detrimental effects of a military presence in schools, we have made it our business to be in the faces of our city council members to object to the 1.5 million dollars of taxpayer money allocated to funding JROTC in the schools. More recently, we have taken on the task of convincing Carmen Fariña that allowing children to march with dummy rifles is antithetical to a policy of 0 tolerance for guns in the school. The chancellor has been shrugging us off. “They’re only toys,” she said.

Please watch this powerful video produced by Chicago Veterans for Peace to fully understand our position. And please read and comment on the exchange of letters between the Granny Peace Brigade and Chancellor Fariña’s office.

– Joan Pleune
for the Granny Peace Brigade

November 17, 2016 – Granny Peace Brigade Counter-Recruitment Action

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PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE NIGHT at NYC PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS

On Parent-Teacher Conference night volunteers went to high schools throughout the 5 boroughs. Distributing flyers in front of a high school building for more than an hour to parents and students who are rushing into the school to meet with teachers may not seem like an upbeat activity.  But it’s remarkably rewarding for volunteers and parents.

Our goal is to provide educational and non-military options to parents and students and counter military promises and programs with relevant information concerning truth in recruiters’ hype.  We believe wholeheartedly that students and their parents should be aware that there are alternatives to military service and an education can be secured without risking lives in needless wars.

Non-Military Options for Life after High School flyer gives families a helping hand to survey many websites and resources for job skills training, scholarships, financial aid, community outreach, volunteer programs.
Questions to Ask – Points to Consider flyer offers information on recruitment practices and promises as well as questions to ask and responses to expect in order to inform families and the student of misleading or unclear information.

It was obvious that parents do not want their children to enlist.  Many expressed an anti-war message – a rejection of their kids going into the Armed Forces.
A father remarked,”Oh yeah, I’m 100% with you.”
A parent said she was going to make copies of the flyers to give out in connection with her work.
A student mentioned an interest in starting a Peace club.
A teacher asked about a speaker on the issues and non-military options in her classroom.

During the evening parents at every school thanked volunteers for the flyers and caring enough to provide this information to them. The feedback from parents was heartfelt and a connection that someone cares about their child’s future.
Many thanks to the 24 volunteers who participated in the counter recruitment action at 12 high schools throughout the 5 boroughs. Families received your largesse and benefited from the information.

Ending war one student at a time.
– Barbara Harris
Granny Peace Brigade
Anti-Military Committee

“Get JROTC out of Schools” – Demo at 65 Court St

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"Get JROTC out of the schools"" at 65 Court St Brooklyn
Photo: Danya Abt

Corinne, Joan, Nydia, Betty, Eva-Lee, Barbara H, Carol and Ryoko outside the NYC Board of Education offices at 65 Court Street in Brooklyn. Our message — tell City Council to get the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps out of NYC high schools. Read more about JROTC: A Recruitment Tool In 18 New York City High Schools.

2016_04_13signsA young man saw me carrying signs to the demonstration and said, “You know? I was in JROTC when I was in high school.” I asked him why he joined and he told me he needed an extra curricular activity for his transcript. Then he added, “But I didn’t go into the military. I didn’t want to go to war to steal somebody else’s oil.” I’m glad he made that decision. Not all students do.

Dear New Yorkers, Please call your City Council person and ask her or him to de-fund the JROTC programs in NYC schools. Find the name and number of your City Council Representative here.

— Eva-Lee  Baird
for the GPB

No Military Rifles in NYC schools!

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The Granny Peace Brigade, joined by Kevin Augustine of Clarion Call, protested at 250 Broadway, the offices of the NYC City Council, on the planned city budget allocation of around $1.5 million for the US government’s military program of JROTC classes in 18 New York City High Schools. Funds are also provided under the federal military budget. (Click on thumbnails for larger images.)

Kevin’s silent presence in front of the building set a poignant note. He was dressed as a hobo grunt, a combination of a sad tattered clown and part weary homeless veteran, with several dummy/bodies lying at his feet. Clarion Call, with whom he volunteers,  is a street-based pantomime promoting peace. The silent veteran reflects the thought that “actions speak louder than words.”

Looking at his sad face, one sees a familiar classic clown: Emmett Kelly. Kevin himself is the son of a veteran, who sadly took his own life when Kevin was only 12, one of the thousands of veterans committing suicide each year.

We were together asking questions. Should we as tax-payers permit the military to teach JROTC classes and sell the Army story? Where’s the balance of information on the realities around life in the military?  How much better could these funds be used? Teaching of peaceful ways of dealing with conflict/conflict resolution? Arts? Music? Books? Computers? or even just making our schools safer…..and cleaner. Do we really want our schools to be making “boy and girl soldiers?” If NO, do call your city councilor.

Granny Peace Brigade: Eva-Lee, Joan, Edith, Barbara W., Nancy, Nydia, Tibby, Phyllis, Marty, with Kevin Augustine of Clarion Call

– Story and photos by Marty Rajandran