Anti-Military Antics? San Francisco Schools Refuse to Give Credit to Students in JROTC Program

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," June 27, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The San Francisco school board voted Thursday to no longer award physical education credits to students in the Junior ROTC program.

This isn't the first time that the Junior ROTC program in San Francisco has been threatened. In 2006 the school board threatened to remove the program from city schools starting in 2009.

Joining us now, retired U.S. Army colonel and antiwar activist Ann Wright.

Ann, welcome to the program. Thanks for being with us.


Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Ann Wright

HANNITY: You know, we're endowed by our creator, right? Those gifts come from God. That's our founding document, correct?

WRIGHT: Well, they do come from someplace, yes.

HANNITY: OK. And this freedom, this liberty we have, isn't it protected by brave men and women that go out there and have been fighting back the forces of evil now many times in our history?

WRIGHT: Well, absolutely, but it's not high school kids that do that. And I think the whole point of what [the] San Francisco school system is doin is to put the military in its proper place.

I'm certainly not an anti-military person, but I don't think it needs to start in high school.

HANNITY: The rigors of military training are far superior and rigorous than anything I ever did in P.E. when I was in school.

But doesn't this seem like here's some kids that obviously love their country and may even consider a career in the military to preserve those God-given rights in our founding document, and now they're being punished.

Now I understand that people may not agree with the war, but why punish children for admiring the fact that our military protects our liberty? Why punish them?

WRIGHT: I don't think that they — that the school system intends to punish them for that. I think they're just saying — I think the school system really needs to look at how they handle that, but I think it is appropriate that a school —and actually a community, as San Francisco has done —which says that they want college not combat for kids, that they have asked recruiters that truth in recruiting, no recruiters in the high school, that put the military recruiting in the appropriate place, which is not in the schools.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Colonel Wright, it's Alan Colmes.

It's interesting to me, conservatives often talk about that schools should have local control, and be able to make decisions, local school boards, for what goes on in their schools. And this would be an example of that, wouldn't it?

WRIGHT: Well, it would be. But I do have sympathy with the fact that you've got some kids that are midway through this program, and that they are, some of them will be impigned on graduation, because they will have to take double credits as I understand it, both P.E. and the Junior ROTC in order to graduate.

I think that the school system probably does need to re-look that part of it. But I would say that the whole issue of Junior ROTC in high schools, it should not — it should not be there.

COLMES: But help me understand why. What's wrong with giving kids the option of taking Junior ROTC for credit? Why is that a bad thing?

WRIGHT: Well, I think we need to move this whole military aspect of one's life a little bit further later in life, not start it so much out in the freshman, sophomore, junior years. Let them go through high school. And if they decide after they graduate from high school they want to go into the military, with truth in recruiting, if they get the proper information about the military, and then decide to join, then let them do it at that age. But do we want to start having kids in school, are are we really militarizing our society by using this ROTC?

COLMES: But isn't an option for kids, that if they want to join, they can. If they don't, they don't have to. In other words, they're not being forced into it.

WRIGHT: No, that's exactly right. They are being forced into it. But there are a lot of very attractive features sometimes for kids to tempt them into that thing.

The military is very good about that. I was in the military 29 years myself. And I know all the little gimmicks that can be used to get kids to go into that, versus maybe, say, going into the band, or probably they don't even have a band that's left in the high school now because of the problems that we've got with funding of high schools.

The military itself does pay for half of the salaries of the people that run the Junior ROTC program, so the military itself is paying the schools to let this program exist.

COLMES: All right. Colonel, we thank you very much for being with us tonight, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

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