You can understand how it happened. Colonel Ross Ermel, commander of Saskatchewan’s reserve unit, needs more reserves. Greg Enion, Deputy Director of Student Achievement in the Regina public school system wants to provide as many career pathways and opportunities as possible. And Don Morgan, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Education, seeks to give students ways to learn life and leadership skills.
But bribing Regina students in grades 11 and 12 to take army training in high school is just plain wrong. I call this bribery because students will receive two credits for taking the course, will be paid $2000 over only 23 days and offered the possibility of paid summer training.
Why is introducing military training in Regina high schools wrong?
- The military should not have privileged access to grade 11 and 12 students and be allowed to bribe them to participate in military training.
- The United Nations’ view is that education should enable “individuals to learn to live together in a world characterized by diversity and pluralism.” This goal is not served by teaching our youth that war is normal and that violence is an appropriate way to resolve conflict. And it is definitely not served by awarding credits for learning how to use weapons.
- If high schools agree to solve the employment problem of the reserves by giving students time, credits and money as incentives to join, what will they say when they are approached by fast food restaurants to help solve their employment problems? One could argue that working at McDonald’s opens career pathways and teaches life and leadership skills too.
Art, drama and music can lead to careers and teach discipline and leadership skills, but these programs nhave been cut. Let’s offer a high school credit in non-violent conflict resolution. Why is there no money bfor this, but lots of money to support militarism?
Those who join the military are often from lower income families. Above-average wages entice them to risk their mental health and lives to fulfill the goals of the state. Let’s not be complicit. Military recruitment in high schools is wrong.
Please join the conversation.
**If you live in Saskatchewan, PeaceQuest Regina has an ongoing petition requesting to end this program. You can download a PDF copy of the petition if you would like to help collect names. Please contact Florence dot Stratton at URegina dot CA to submit completed pages.