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Ruth Davis Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps wrong choice for impressionable youths

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Ruth Davis

Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:43 am, Thu Jul 7, 2011.

First, I want to say how much I admire and how grateful I am of the people serving in our armed forces. They have dedicated time, effort and, all too frequently, their lives to protect and serve our duly elected government's directives to defend our way of life.

Many of these fine people may have attended a Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which led them into military service. Some who attend an ROTC program do not choose the military. I believe both groups would defend their right to attend such programs, and so do I. It is the age at which this opportunity occurs that I wish to express my opinion.

Children are most impressionable before the age of approximately 16. This early cycle of development is a time for most children to gain experience and knowledge that will help them become productive adults. During this time, children are most easily influenced, either for good or bad. Most street gangs begin to recruit new members between the ages of 12 and 16.

Children between the ages of 10 and 16 are physically able to do most activities they will be required to do as adults. What children of this age group cannot do is express these behaviors at appropriate levels and situations.

During their pubescent years, for most between the ages of 12 and 16, thought processes are more acutely affected by their emotions because of hormonal and other changes taking place. These are surely their emotional growth years.

Introducing at this age a program such as ROTC that inculcates the blind following of orders is not conducive to good emotional growth. What happens to these children when the person giving the commands requires a child to perform unlawful acts, or acts that may cause them harm? Children of this age do not have the capabilities to always know right from wrong, which is why we do not impose the same judicial or punishment process to children under the age of 18.

Waiting until children become more emotionally stable will allow them to develop an unbiased knowledge and emotional foundation from which life's decisions can be soundly formed.

Ruth Davis is a member of the Lodi Unified School District board of trustees and a retired teacher.

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Welcome to the discussion.

5 comments:

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 6:53 pm on Wed, Jul 6, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Good comments by all.

    The more I thought about this column, the more puzzled I became with Ms. Davis's analogy of gang membership, military training, and "blind following of orders."

    Sounds like too many viewings of "A Few Good Men."

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:07 pm on Wed, Jul 6, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    These are surely their emotional growth years.
    Introducing at this age a program “such as ROTC: that inculcates the blind following of orders is not conducive to good emotional growth. What happens to these children when the person giving the commands requires a child to perform unlawful acts, or acts that may cause them harm?

    Whether this woman hates, or simply does not approve, either way I agree with Mr kinderman and Ms Bobin. I think you can use this woman's logic to support a position that many things provided at schools should be eliminated if indeed ROTC is not appropriate ... for example, the football, basketball baseball, wrestling and track programs have coaches that bark orders and instructions.. since blind allegiance is fostered and if they do not do as they are told, they will not play... ..These impressionable players could be ordered to do something illegal after all...maybe teaching sex education in 3ird grade should be reconsidered... maybe after-school dances on campus should be eliminated, if they do not know right from wrong. The list could go on and on.
    One might wonder if some students missed out in opportunity at the hands of Ruth Davis if she had such influence over ther lives of Lodi children.

     
  • Frederick Goethel posted at 10:40 am on Wed, Jul 6, 2011.

    Frederick Goethel Posts: 50

    My daughter participated in the Civil Air Patrol, which is very similar to JROTC with the exception that it takes place on your own time, rather than during school hours. The time spent with them was very valuable and she learned a great deal about aviation, the military and how to obey the orders of people who were her superiors.

    It served her well and she actually attended a summer session at the US Coast Guard Academy to determine if that was a place where she would like to continue her education. She ended up washing out, but she never would have tried had it not been for CAP.

    It was a great experience for her, she learned a great deal, and it worked out well for the military as well since she discovered it was not the life she wished to lead. I can see no harm in allowing a program like this at any high school. It's not like they are actually enlisting.


     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:17 am on Wed, Jul 6, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I'm not convinced that Ms. Davis has a "hatred" for our military (rather a dislike for the government policies that deploy our military), but I do agree with Mr. Kinderman's assessment that this column is truly disturbing for a number of reasons that Mr. Kinderman has, in my opinion, successfully rebutted.

    I am surprised that this woman is a former (thankfully) teacher and a member of the BOT for LUSD.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 7:46 am on Wed, Jul 6, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2365

    In spite of Ms. Davis' not-so-clever attempt to hide her "dislike" for our military, her true colors in this regard are revealed in the very first paragraph of this most disturbing column. Specifically, her statement that, "They [members of the military] have dedicated time, effort and, all too frequently, their lives to protect and serve our duly elected government's directives to defend our way of life" would have one believe they protect the "government's directives" rather than directly defending every man, woman and child.

    Ms. Davis incorrectly states that "[c]hildren of this age [12 to 16] do not have the capabilities to always know right from wrong, which is why we do not impose the same judicial or punishment process to children under the age of 18." The only way for her to advance the absolute silliness of her entire stance in this diatribe would be for this to be true. Anyone who has raised a child understands that while they absolutely DO know the difference between right and wrong. The difference between punishments meted out is due to our desire to salvage their lives rather than throw them into prison before they even have a chance.

    Jr. ROTC exists not only to identify exceptional young men and women to eventually lead our nation's military in the future, but to also provide them the guidance that they desperately need during this time in their lives. Davis would have us believe that leaders in Jr. ROTC practically “require a child to perform unlawful acts, or acts that may cause them harm." Where is her proof in this regard; where's the data?

    Finally, Jr. ROTC is a voluntary program. Many of these children go on to attend our nation’s military academies and then to serve as officers in the Armed Forces of the United States. Some go on to traditional colleges and universities and might never wear the uniform, but use the discipline and guidance provided by their time in the Jr. ROTC to succeed there and then as productive adults. Is Ms. Davis so blinded by her hatred for our military that she cannot see what good this program does? It would appear so, because as she rails against this program for children between 12 and 16, she offers no other alternatives. What should they be doing as we “…wait until children become more emotionally stable?” I’m sure there are some gang leaders who have some very fine ideas what to do with them.

     

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