Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Selling children: School boards and Starbase

The fight is on. Some school boards are taking bribes from the Pentagon in exchange for access to elementary school children. Some parents are beyond outraged and have buckled up for a serious battle. This is underway in my town, Portland, Oregon.

In India children are sold for sex. In some African, American (Colombia) and Asian countries children have been sold as soldiers. We are righteously indignant at these loathsome practices. Then we calmly allow military people to take elementary school children out of our public schools and bring them to military bases, claiming that these children are getting science and technology education. Right. Do the children sold for sex get biology education? This is simply shameful.

Unfair, you say. No comparison. Well, don’t be so sure. The literature on this Department of Defense program from their own website reveals their true purpose when high-ranking officers effuse that this Starbase program will no doubt bring higher recruitment numbers when the children age into actual military service. Perhaps it’s not fair to compare directly to sexual slavery; perhaps it’s more accurate to call it grooming behavior, with the school boards accepting money to look the other way while pedophiles psychologically prepare children for eventual prostitution. 

In either case, the dangers to the children are extreme and the school boards ignore them, preferring denial of risk knowledge to acknowledgement and evaluation.
  • The Pentagon is the worst environmental law violator, responsible for more Superfund sites than any other sector of the American economy, including many military bases.
  • We are at war. Insurgents, including members of the US military, target military bases. Deciding to allow the military to take children into harm’s way is an invitation to turn those children into collateral damage. 
  • The military mandates in its contracts with the school boards that children take pre-Starbase assessment surveys that include questions asking if the children know about the careers in the military.
  • The military mandates in its contracts with the school boards that children take assessment surveys at the conclusion of the five days on base with questions that, once again, stress the great military careers open to children in a few years.
  • The military mandates in its contracts with the school boards that children must get this science and technology education at a military base.

Well, you say, children are exposed to many media representations of the military, plus video games, etc. This is nothing new.

Really? Parents and teachers have no control over what their children are exposed to? Since when? When did parents and teachers abandon their responsibilities? How interesting that we worry about the government taking over our parenting options and then when the government does, we do nothing about it.

In any event, some of us feel the militarization of our culture has already gone way too far and penetrated far too deeply. We will resist further encroachment into the lives, the innocent childhood years. That, above all else, is our function as adults. If we cannot preserve the innocence of childhood for these young ones we have failed miserably as parents and teachers. It is time for the grown-ups to intervene. The military does not own those children and they do not own us. We’ll see who has the backbone for this fight.

No comments: