NYC Kids Send Anti-War Letters to Soldier

The New York City Department of Education (search), red-faced over Brooklyn sixth-graders who slammed a GI with demoralizing anti-Iraq-war letters as part of a school assignment, will send the 20-year-old private a letter of apology Tuesday.

Deputy Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina (search), who has a nephew serving in Iraq, plans to personally contact Pfc. Rob Jacobs (search) and his family, said department spokeswoman Michele McManus Higgins.

"She knows how difficult it is to have a loved one in a war zone," Higgins said.

Jacobs is stationed 10 miles from the North Korean border and who has been told he may be headed to Iraq in the near future.

The GI got the ranting missives last month from pint-sized pen pals at JHS 51 in Park Slope.

Filled with political diatribes, the letters predict GIs will die by the tens of thousands, accuse soldiers of killing Iraqi civilians and bash President Bush.

Teacher Alex Kunhardt (search) had his students write Jacobs as part of a social-studies assignment.

He declined to comment Monday on whether he read the rants before passing them along, but said he planned to contact Jacobs soon to explain the situation.

In an accompanying letter to Jacobs, Kunhardt had written that the students "come from a variety of backgrounds and political beliefs, but unanimously support the bravery and sacrifice of American soldiers around the world."

"Support" was not the word that came to Jacobs' mind when he read the letters.

One girl wrote that she believes Jacobs is "being forced to kill innocent people" and challenged him to name an Iraqi terrorist, concluding, "I know I can't."

Another girl wrote, "I strongly feel this war is pointless," while a classmate predicted that because Bush was re-elected, "only 50 or 100 [soldiers] will survive."

A boy accused soldiers of "destroying holy places like mosques."

Even one kid smitten with soldiers couldn't keep politics out of the picture, writing, "I find that many extreme liberals are disrespectful to you."

Uplifting letters from children are dear to soldiers, Jacobs said. He looks at a batch he got from a Girl Scout troop from his hometown of Middletown, N.J., whenever he feels lonely.

At the time the 21 JHS 51 letters were penned, Jacobs, who has been stationed in Korea for nearly a year, was told that he may be headed to Iraq. But no official order for deployment was given.

"If I were in Iraq and read that the youth of our nation doesn't want me to be there and doesn't believe in what I'm doing, it would mess up my head," Jacobs said.

Jacobs said he would welcome a letter from the Department of Education and the teacher.

"I want to think these letters were coached by the teacher or the parents of these children," Jacobs said in an interview from Camp Casey, Korea.

"It boggles my mind that children could think this stuff."

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