Puerto Rican independentistas blast JROTC plan for public schools

Civic and political groups blast plans for ROTC in public schools

José Alvarado Vega – PR Daily Sun

Civic and political groups denounced plans Wednes- day by the Fortupo administration to establish Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps programs in at least eight local public high schools, and vowed to organize campaigns to discourage their implementation.

Veterans Advocate Jorge Mas Marrero disclosed Monday that his office is pushing for Junior ROTC programs in public schools, saying the initiative aims to discourage students from dropping out of school, impart discipline, develop leadership and encourage the learning of English.

While denying the initiative seeks to increase recruitment of students into the U.S. armed forces or “militarize” schools, Mas Marrero acknowledged the Junior ROTC programs aims to sign up 10 percent of high school students.

Mas Marrero, a former military sciences professor at the University of Puerto Rico’s ROTC program, said Junior ROTC programs would only be established in schools with more than 800 students and which have backing from communities and parents. Education Secretary Carlos Chardon said Tuesday he has no qualms with including the program in public schools, but he noted it must be requested by school boards.

Puerto Rico Independence Party General Secretary Juan Dalmau said Wednesday that Mas Marrero’s justification that the program seeks to avoid school dropouts is “an insult to the intelligence of this country [sic] and a lie.”

“I call on the governor to stop hiding behind the Veterans Advocate and tell us if he believes in a culture of peace and education for our students, or if his mission is to transform our public schools into centers for military recruitment, so that our youth can serve as cannon fodder in American wars,” said Dalmau during a press conference at PIP headquarters in Puerto Nuevo.

Dalmau, who rejected the notion that the program benefits the Education Department by bringing in more federal funding, said the push for Junior ROTC programs is part of an “agenda to indoctrinate the youth with a pro-American and pro-war vision.”

Dalmau said the party will include a campaign against Junior ROTC presence in public schools in its periodic talks to public school students on how they can deny giving their personal information to military recruiters. He called on parents to discourage their children from joining the program.

“The reality is you don’t solve the school dropout problem by dressing up our youth in military drag and encouraging a militarist vision,” said Dalmau, who noted that the problem can only be addressed by providing schools with needed psychologists and social workers, designing “modern” and “dynamic” school curricula, and providing teachers with “the tools they need to do their work.”

Dalmau said ROTC officials are targeting schools with large student populations from low-income families, which he said are the most vulnerable to the “pipe dreams” offered by military recruiters.

The head of the National Union of Educators and Education Workers, or Unete by its Spanish acronym, said that having Junior ROTC programs in public schools would turn them into “centers of military recruitment”.

“Schools exist to promote the principles of peace, justice, service and other values and principles that make us better citizens. Schools don’t exist to promote war and militarism,” Unete President Emilio Nieves said in a press release, in which he called on Chardon to “assume a firm position in defense of the mission of public schools.”

Militarization through the kitchen

Mothers Against War spokeswoman Sonia Santiago said the initiative was an attempt by the Fortune administration to sneak military curricula “through the kitchen.” She also criticized the commonwealth Environmental Quality Board’s recent authorization of construction of training facilities to be used by the U.S. armed forces and the Homeland Security Department at the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba and in a Mayagiiez facility.

“We call on parents not to sign any document authorizing military officials to teach their children, because maternity is life and war is the anti-thesis of maternity,” said Santiago, a clinical psychologist whose son was injured in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “We also denounce the building of military training centers on the island, where yoga exercises are not going to be taught but strategies on how to exterminate fellow men and women.”

Santiago said Mas Marrero should desist from becoming a military recruiter and stick to his job defending veterans, who, she said, are being mistreated despite their service. She cited news reports in which the Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges the huge backlog of unfinished disability claims. This situation has led veterans to wait an average of six months to receive disability benefits and as long as four years for their appeals to be heard in cases where their benefits were denied.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: http://www.independencia.net/noticias3/cp_JD_jrROTC_baseRRCeiba17jun09.html#ingles


Humberto Rivera

I read this article and I’m amazed how confuse people are. We get a little hot when our youth get into the military, but we don’t do anything to prevent the killlings that are going on in our streets. You say that the school will become centers for militarism. What you call them now (I suppose centers for gangs) should sound better. I don’t think there is nothing wrong with the support of our military in the school system. Do you like the American Money when they help, well we all have to “Give way together” no just when the “Dulce Coco” is good. I’m a retired service member of the military and I’m paying my dues to my community in voluntary service to my nation, oh yes; Puerto Rico and I love my island too. I don’t agree with a lot of things of the American system, but It is the best we have and no one on this island had showed me anything better. And by the way I know a little bit of our Puerto Rican History and the Spaniards were not good either, why we want to just cater to one thing when we could diversified and have it all. I believe in our independence, but is not real, because we are an undiscipline nation. I will take 10 generations maybe more to be free at last. Do you rember Dr. Martin Luther King pharase,” Intelligence plus character are the goals of all good education” Let’s get this point clear out first and then Mothers Againts War could do their thing. They should be called Mothers Against Drugs. Let’s do protest at the Capitol about the killings in our street. There is more killing here than there is in IRAQ!
Don’t you think?
That’s All

marisol valentin

como mi hijo puede formar parte de ROTC..el quiere pertenecer al army pero sus exfuerzoz no an sido de buen probecho ya q no sabe el ingles conversacional … quisira q me dieran mas informacion sobre este programa ,soy una madre q apoya a su hijo a cumplir su sueños de pertenecer al army,Mi hijo tiene 19 años y esta buscando ayudas para poder estudiar y cumplir sus sueños.

Hector Cuso Rodriguez

I take my hat off to Humberto as he expressed my concerns about this issue. After finishing my degree in Puerto Rico, the government nor the economy couldn’t provide a deasent job to sustain my family. Instead of relying on wealth fare I enlisted to learn English and make myself more markable. After 21 years of service, I decided to continue by working in an Army JROTC program, and we do more for the community than any other school program does. We teach options and to say no to negative peer preasure, but everyone want to attack those that are providing positive reinforment, but choose to look away when crimes occure on their presence. Boricua 100%, orgullozo de todo corazon, no les niegen la oportunidades a nuestros jovenes de elegir, pues la oposicion son los que estan comiendole las mentes y llevandonos a una frustracion cultural.

A Marisol te quiero decir, hay libros que le pueden ayudar y aunque los reclutadores no deben de intervenir con ese progreso ellos le pueden guiar al sitio apropiado. Como dijo Humberto, hay mas jovenes muriendo neciamente en nuestras calles y muy pocos estan tan firmes en proveerles ayudas para superar y evitar el deteriodo social.


I know all about the rotc program and let me tell you something I learn more on my own about how to be a officer than in the rotc program you not have to be worried about jrotc program they going to teach our young how to be mediocrees and lazy officers in the future att Enlisted nco



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