This Position Paper addresses the issue of the militarization of Chicago Public Schools.
The military model is conflict resolution by violence. The military model is following orders without question. The military model is humanly, environmentally and financially expensive. The military model is the antithesis of democracy and detrimental to this nation since it takes funds away from much needed social programs. Yet, Chicago Public Schools is teaching the military model to over 10,000 youth. CPS is the most militarized school system in the nation.
Veterans For Peace is an international 501(c)3 organization of military veterans and allies whose main focus is to abolish war and rid us of the human, environmental and financial costs of this barbaric solution to conflict. Our motto is Peace at Home, Peace Abroad. There is a direct connection between the application of the military model abroad and the militarization of the police, the militarization of schools and the violence and deterioration we see at home.
In 2013 several members of the Chicago Chapter of Veterans For Peace attended the annual Memorial Day parade along State Street. It is billed as the largest Memorial Day parade in the nation. They were appalled to see thousands of mostly dark skinned youth in military uniforms marching in the parade. The parade was more about promoting the military model than a memorial for those killed.
Since the war machine is so well funded and so well promoted and so ingrained in the culture of the U.S., the abolition of war becomes a daunting task. The Chicago Chapter decided to concentrate on one segment of the war machine – the indoctrination of youth. If children are taught that the military model of conflict resolution by violence is the right way, and they are given recognition and special treatment for participating, and parents and the community encourage them, they will participate. Children do not have the maturity to question. Children do not have the mental strength to challenge the culture. It has been said that children do better academically in military academies. Children thrive when they are given opportunities, resources and recognition in any environment. Give them opportunities, resources and recognition in a music academy, a science academy, a poetry academy, or a traditional classroom, and they will thrive.
Veterans For Peace, through our initiative “Education Not Militarization”, is standing up for the youth of Chicago and for our nation. We are working to educate the community on the reality of the military model. We seek to build a movement to remove the military model of conflict resolution by violence from the lives of children and youth here in Chicago, and to turn Chicago Public Schools into a national model for teaching a well rounded curriculum for all students that includes cooperation, nonviolent conflict resolution skills, restorative justice and critical thinking skills. We are working to help children achieve a future free from war and violence and the resulting human, environmental and financial devastations.
Peace at Home, Peace Abroad