When he got home from Iraq, Hart Viges began sorting through his boyhood toys, looking for some he could pass on to his new baby nephew. He found a stash of G.I. Joes - his old favorites - and the memories came flooding back.
For years DOD recruiting commanders have attempted to circumvent student privacy protections that are designed to shield minors from the wholesale transfer of student information from the nation's high schools to the Pentagon's Military Entrance Processing Command.
The DOD markets "career opportunities" through the schools, relying on a variety of methods, from Channel One, a 12-minute, highly commercialized, daily TV program that reaches as many as 5 million children a day, to various posters and announcements touting military service or other schemes like the Career Exploration Program. For the most part, however, these outreach efforts ultimately rely on the schools as a third party from which to extract student data. Until now, the DOD's quest for greater access to children has been somewhat stymied by pesky state and federal laws that regulate the flow of student information from the schools.
The U.S. Department of Defense recently released their 2014 DoD Starbase Annual Report covering this program's impact on 10 to 14 year old children in U.S. public schools. One of the Starbase organizers is Major General Lee Tafanelli, of the Kansas National Guard, and his comments reveal how normalized and commonplace has become the language of militarization inside U.S. Schools. As part of the "community covenant " strategy of the Pentagon to "own" townships and school districts to support and participate in military focused science and math programs, children are now openly given science education directly related to defense issues. Starbase proponents focus their outreach in poorer districts , where children are at greater risk to conditions of poverty or lack opportunities afforded to youth living in more affluent areas and attending better funded schools.
Kenneth J. Saltman - Public schools in the United States have increasingly come to resemble the military and prison systems with their hiring of military generals as school administrators and heavy investment in security apparatus—metal detectors, high-tech dog tag IDs, chainlink fences, and real-time Internet-based or hidden mobile surveillance cameras—plus, their school uniforms, security consultants, surprise searches, and the presence of police on campuses.1 But it would be a mistake to understand the preoccupation with security as merely a mass media-driven hysteria in the wake of Virginia Tech and other high-profile shootings, and myopic to ignore the history of public school militarization prior to September 11.
The United States stands alone among Western nations in allowing military recruiters to work inside its educational system. Section 9528 of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act requires that public high schools give the military as much access to campuses and student contact information as is given to any other recruiter. However, University of Kansas anthropologist Brian Lagotte finds that school officials do not fully understand this policy and often provide military recruiters unrestricted access to their campuses. Many schools allow military recruiters to coach sports, serve as substitute teachers, chaperone school dances, and engage in other activities. In some cases, recruiters are such a regular presence in high schools that students and staff regard them as school employees.
On February 27-28, 2015, the Syracuse University (SU) Student Association on Terrorism and Security Analysis (SATSA) held its yearly conference on campus, entitled “The New Global Threat: Emerging Issues in National Security.” SATSA publishes The Journal of Terrorism and Security Analysis, and is oriented towards the policy and legal implications of military action. Students contribute to the journal to increase their marketability for jobs such as National Security Attorney. Broadly, this conference is geared towards training students so that they have the tools to advise military personnel and military contractors on what authority they have, and how to use the law to justify military operations.
Last year, Henry F. Moss Middle School in Bowling Green, Ohio, offered students a brand new course. And, as a headline in the local newspaper proclaimed, this was “not your traditional class.” For starters, the teacher—an army sergeant—had told the Bowling Green Daily News that one of his goals was to expose these seventh- and eighth-graders to “military values” that they could use as “building blocks” in life. To that end, students in the class earn military style ranks, engage in army-style “PT” (physical training) and each Wednesday, wear camouflage pants and boots.
This is the Moss Middle School Leadership Corps, part of the growing trend of military-style education for pre-adolescents.
Through articles, images, survey data and interviews, Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It documents the seeds of war that are planted in the minds of young people in many different countries. However, it also explores the seeds of resistance to this militarisation that are being sown resiliently and creatively by numerous people. READ MORE