Lodi Unified Trustees approved a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program to start at McNair High in the fall of 2014 with a 6-1 vote on Tuesday night.
JROTC is an elective course that is paid for in part by the U.S. Army. Read more about the program here. It’s taught by a retired military officer.
Trustees, except for Bonnie Cassel, were all for it. Trustee Ron Freita, whose day job is working to convict violent criminals for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office, said JROTC programs are good classes to help teach leadership for gang leaders. Board President Ralph Womack, a retired police captain who has dedicated his post-career to working with youth gang intervention (and now is heading the city’s Operation Ceasefire), agreed.
Cassel said she’s not anti-military. She is married to a man who served in the Air Force during Vietnam, she said. However, she believes young teenagers are too impressionable, and believes the JROTC could “indoctrinate” them into a military frame of mind.
Ultimately, the board decided the positives outweigh any negatives. The program is a go, and the board seems open to expanding it to other schools if McNair’s program is popular and successful.