The Child Soldier Amendment–Forcing Secondary Schools to Help Recruit Children
September 15, 2008
CONTACT SENATOR LEVIN’S OFFICE (202-224-6221)AND DEMAND THAT AMENDMENT #5331 IS KEPT OFF S. 3001, THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009.
ALSO, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATOR (general switchboard: 202-224-3121).
A Senate amendment added to the FY 2009 Defense Authorization bill would require secondary schools to include JROTC within their curriculum or be cut off from federal funds at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense. This amendment was introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). (1)
JROTC violates the spirit of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict which was ratified by the United States in January of 2003. This protocol prevents children from being recruited or trained for war. The absolute minimum age at which a child can be recruited, as set forth by this Protocol, is 16, which the U.S. voluntarily raised to the minimum age to 17. This was after the U.S lobbied against the United Nations proposed absolute minimum age of 18. (2)
JROTC is solely a secondary school program for children in grades 9-12. JROTC was originally designated as a recruitment tool, although the enabling statute of JROTC now calls JROTC a “citizenship” program. Interestingly, a 1-year participant in JROTC can enlist in the military as an E-2, while a 3-year participant in JROTC can enlist as an E-3, thus enlisting a higher rank with greater pay. Clearly, this is one of many examples that JROTC is about recruitment.
This amendment would also allow for the federal government to override the welfare of a community and the decision making power of school administrators, teachers, parents, and children.
Your support is needed. Please remember to visit our website at www.centeronconscience.org
(1) SEC. 556. PROHIBITION ON AVAILABILITY OF FEDERAL FUNDS TO LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES THAT PREVENT ACCESS TO JROTC ON CAMPUSES OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS.
(a) Prohibition. —
(1) IN GENERAL.–Chapter 49 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 983 the following new section:“”983a. Local educational agencies that prevent JROTC access on secondary school campuses
“(a) Denial of Funds for Preventing JROTC Access to Campus.–No funds described in subsection (c) may be provided by contract, grant, or cooperative agreement to a local educational agency (or any subelement of that agency) if the Secretary of Defense determines that that agency (or any subelement of that agency) has a policy or practice (regardless of whether implemented) that either prohibits, or in effect prevents–
“(1) the Secretary of a military department from maintaining, establishing or operating a unit of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (in accordance with chapter 102 of this title and other applicable Federal law) at any secondary school served by that agency; or
“(2) a student at any secondary school served by that agency from enrolling in a unit of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at another secondary school.