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MILITARIZING THE CULTURE THROUGH THE SCHOOLS

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Tonight I was invited by some concerned parents to attend a meeting at the nearby Woolwich Central School to discuss a controversial "Adventure Program" being offered by the Maine Army National Guard (MANG).

The parents have a daughter in the 7th grade and kids at the school in grades 7-8 will next month be subjected to two days of a program called "Maine Counter Drug Task Force" that is now in its third year of operation. In 2006 the MANG visited 47 schools and had contact with 4,700 kids.

It's a two-stage program. First MANG comes to the school in uniform for a two-day "anti-drug and alcohol" program where they "facilitate" goal setting and talk about why it is bad to hit one another. They ask the kids "Who is out there to support you?" Is it possible that they are planting the seed in the kids minds that the Army will support them when they can't find a job or need to provide for their families?

The second-step is an overnight camp out in rural Maine at a MANG training facility. As the MANG Sergeant showed photos and described the "experience," all I could see was a mini-boot camp where they teach the kids "teamwork" on ropes courses and repelling walls.

The school guidance counselor kept talking about how much fun the kids have and how parents are invited to come along. In past years, to get the schools hooked, MANG said it was all free to the schools. Now the parents are being asked to raise funds for the bus transportation to the boot camp.

I kept thinking about the Pentagon's growing need for access to young minds as they plan endless war and a future of "security export" for our nation. The military knows that because we won't be having industrial jobs anymore in the U.S. working class kids at schools like Woolwich Central School will have no real job future. So the MANG becomes the rich uncle and offers to take the kids away for the weekend for some fun and frolic in the woods. It's all harmless they tell us.


The pump is being primed. Anyone who has any doubts that our culture is being militarized just needs to take one fast look at our schools. And what makes it really sad is that the school administrators and the classroom teachers are also being recruited to serve as agents to funnel working class kids into the war machine.

As local schools face growing fiscal crisis look for the rich uncle, dressed in camouflage fatigues, to come knocking on the school house doors alot more often. After all it's MANG who has access to the big money these days.

 

Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

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