By Pat Elder, Director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy
Shooting programs taught by the military don’t belong in our schools!
Militarism in our schools is a major contributing cause of gun violence in America. Almost 2,000 high schools have school shooting ranges affiliated with the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program. Our young people are introduced to our national war culture in their high school cafeterias, where military recruiters forge relationships with kids during lunch.
After lunch, the same cafeterias are often transformed into shooting ranges. The marksmanship programs run by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines typically use CO2-powered long rifles that shoot .177 caliber lead pellets at speeds up to 600 feet per second.
Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, was trained by the Army to shoot a lethal weapon in his high school cafeteria when he was 14. JROTC courses, which often substitute for core curriculum subjects, are taught by retired soldiers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines who often do not have college credentials.
Today, we’re asking you to do a little bit more than simply sign a petition. We want you to engage in a dialogue with your state representatives, and share your legislators’ email responses with us. Then, we want you to be part of a state-centered campaign that seeks out lawmakers who are willing to introduce legislation banning the practice.
Typically, you have two representatives in your state’s legislature. The email you’ll send through our system asks them to submit a bill banning the shooting programs and also asks them to contact you, explaining their position. Can you help us find one brave legislator in the United States of America who is willing to stand up against this madness? The US is the only nation where children are trained to shoot by the military in the public high schools. We’re going to stop it with your help.
We strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to read two critical pieces on the dangers of the shooting programs and the militarization of children, linked below. They’re compelling and they’ll “arm” you in your battle to get the guns out of our schools:
- This piece from StudentPrivacy.org demonstrates the many ways in which JROTC Shooting Programs are dangerous to the health and safety of American school children.
- This article, GI Nick Cruz, documents the militarization of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz through the Instagram images he uploaded. Nik was arrested wearing his JROTC polo shirt. He uploaded photos showing him playing first-person shooter games, like the America’s Army game that the military uses to recruit. Nik is pictured wearing an Army cap, an Army ski hat, and Army camouflage. He is shown holding an Army M 1911-A look-alike air pistol. He is shown hunkered down in his bunker-like camouflage-draped bedroom, and he is shown holding a box of Army ammunition for the Army assault rifle he used to kill.
We must get people to connect the dots between gun violence and militarism. Contact [email protected] with questions or to learn how you can get involved in this campaign.