RICHMOND (KCBS) – Despite dozens of vocal critics, the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education has approved a plan to establish a Junior ROTC program at De Anza High School in Richmond, beginning in the fall.

There are already 200 students signed up as interested in the program, with a student body of 1,300 at the school.

West Contra Costa Unified School District Board President Charles Ramsey said that interest is something they could not ignore.

“I’m excited and I’m pleased that students are finding a program they’re attracted to,” Ramsey said. “We see too many kids drop out, we see kids struggle, we see too many kids not show much interest in school. So when we have an opportunity to have students who find their way through a program, that’s exciting.”

The decision was approved on a 4-1 vote Wednesday night, as they agreed to allocate $100,000 a year for two years.

The last time the district considered military training was in the mid-1980s, and backed off amid a storm of protest.

Margaret Brown, a former district teacher, is one critic of the plan.

“It’s a recruitment for foot soldiers, or soldiers in general, to fight,” she argued.

The plan is only funded for two years, with a provision for a board review after the first year.


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