Letter: Illegal military recruitment in Chicago

May 16, 2007


Illegal Military Recruiting in the Chicago Schools?

It is illegal for the Chicago Public Schools to be trying to recruit its students into active military service. As General Eric K. Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, testified under oath to Congress, in reporting on the JROTC program “…we don’t recruit them [students]; as you know, we’re not permitted to do that…” He said this before the House Armed Services Committee on February 10, 2000.

However, the Admiral of the Navy, when he visited Rickover Naval Academy in the fall told the students that he hoped they would make a career in the Navy. This was reported in the Chicago Tribune. Is this not recruiting?

When the Board of Education voted at its March meeting to accept grant money from the Tawani Foundation to enable Naval cadets to take a field trip to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and Army JROTC students to visit West Point “to gain exposure to cadet life on campus,” is this not recruiting?

When the Rickover Naval Academy plasters its walls with posters lauding life in the Navy and Marine Corps, is this not recruiting?

When the joint chiefs of staff report that they get a wonderful rate of enlistments from the JROTC programs (30 to 40% of all students), does this not indicate there is recruiting taking place?

Shouldn’t we hold the Chicago Public School system accountable on these illegalities of recruiting of students taking place in the JROTC programs?

Isn’t it rather hypocritical of CEO Arne Duncan to be calling for more “sensible gun control laws ” in the wake of the killing of a Julian H.S. student on a bus when he has been a big defender of putting more military training academies inside the Chicago Public School system? Duncan said after the shooting, “ Right now we value the right to bear arms a lot more than we value our children. And I think at a certain point in society there’s got to be some sense of outrage…” (on WBEZ, 5/14/07).

Even though Duncan claims to be a Quaker, he has defended the establishment of the Rickover Naval Academy and other military academies as “options,” “career opportunities,” and not training for the illegal and unjust U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He can be seen in video footage smiling as he reviews a recent city-wide JROTC parade (with mostly African-American and Latino students). He, among others, should be held personally responsible for this training for aggressive wars, and the illegal recruitment in the programs that goes with it.

Neal Resnikoff

Save Senn H.S. Coalition


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