Tuesday, November 28, 2006

San Francisco JROTC threats to students that spoke out against Militarism in their Schools

The JROTC phase out and replacement process in San Francisco Unified School District will likely take some time to implement given the recent threats made to pro-phaseout students and advocates. While I and Commissioner Mark Sanchez have had similar email and phone threats, they pale in comparison to the threats that students are facing right now, apparently from JROTC cadets and their supporters.
See Marc Norton's account of the disgusting threats made to Mara Kubrin, a student at San Francisco's Lowell High School after she presented some 800 petitions to the school board supporting the phase out of JROTC on November 14th.
http://www.marcnorton.us/82659.html see also Marc's piece from Beyond Chron.

"Hey you stupid hatin azz bitch!!!Better watch ur fkn bk ya dumbazz whore!"

This was just one of the threatening MySpace messages directed at Mara Kubrin, a senior at Lowell High School, following the vote by the San Francisco school board to phase the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) out of the City's public schools.

..."God you know how many people you have made cry & how many people hate you!& wanna Beat you up & Slap the Shit out of you!!!!"


"u should stfu." [shut the f@#$ up - eric]

Ironically, when Mara presented the petition at the school board she claimed that many students opposed to JROTC were afraid to come to the meeting, fearing intimidation by JROTC students. The threats she has received since then have proven that point.

When I talked to many teachers and community supporters of the phase out over the past year, they also expressed similar fears for their safety but they also spoke of fears of retaliation from their principals and from the school district's central office.
Last week when I talked to Mara's dad, a longtime progressive activist and teacher's union leader at one of our middle schools, he said that the threats had taken their toll on the family. He said Mara though was in good spirits and out of town for the holiday break. Mara's mom also emailed me from Africa last week to say that they have some ideas of which JROTC supporters sent the threats. The police are following up on the threats after Lowell High School administrators reportedly failed to follow up on the threats to one of their students.

Need for balance in reporting on the SF School Board's JROTC Vote -
To help counter the mainstream press' extremely biased reporting on the board's vote and all the right-wing and conservative websites and blogs, I am listing a few reports and opinion pieces on the SF Board of Education's and community's efforts to phase out the JROTC below:

Tommi Avicoli Mecca's report from Beyond Chron on the 11/14 Board of Ed Vote
Pat Gerber's excellent post from the SF Independent Media Center

Peter Lauterborn's insightful blog posts

More from the American Friends Service Committee on Youth and Militarism

Why Question the Military's JROTC Program, from CCCO CCCO's Military Out of Our Schools Program

Rethinking Schools Article: No Child Left Unrecruited


KC said...

Oh please. Kids behave badly online. This is not noteworthy.

Go take a look at the comment Jane Kim supporters left on a recent post questioning one of her campaign fliers. Overeager and immature Kim fans got belligerent, threatening, and demeaning. I'm not trembling in fear of Jane's rise.

The same sort of rowdy bad behavior marked the debate on closing UP too. That case may be closer to this in the sense that the affected students are likely to be prone to bullying tactics. In many cases these are troubled kids are faced with the loss of a program that provides needed structure and support (OK, UP may have lacked structure) and they are angry about it.

Overreacting to some poorly chosen online remarks is fool's play.

Anonymous said...

i watched all 4 hours of the sfgov coverage yesterday. the student rep that mentioned over 50% of the student body wanting to keep jrotc was of most interest. why bother having them on the boe if we don't listen to them.

Anonymous said...

Because they're not white, that's why their opinions don't matter

Anonymous said...

First of all, I followed the post of the students defending Jane Kim, and they were not violent at all.

Second of all, not that I am supporting the act of threats made toward Ms. Kurbin, but how are those kids' taunts any worse than the ones the adults made toward the JROTC students after the 11.14 meeting? For gawd's sake, threats made to the fact are extremely more threatening than anonymous ones made online.

By the way, I have always believed that citizens do not accept or at least viewed cautiously blatantly biased journalism such as the one that was written about Ms. Kurbin by a close friend of the family.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm A Air Force JROTC cadet and this is not representative of the program. JROTC is a great program, alot of fun, and those who hate the military should move to Greenland because the U.S.A exists today ONLY because of the sacrafise of the military (the American Revolution!!?)
Thank You