JROTC reinstated in county schools

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2003

&uot;I recommend that the JROTC program be reinstated to the Butler County school system,&uot; n those were the first words spoken by school superintendent Dr. Mike Reed at a special meeting of the Butler County Board of Education Monday night.

The board unanimously approved the motion to reinstate to the surprise and delight of more than 100 JROTC supporters assembled in the boardroom for the meeting.

&uot;This board is taking a gamble tonight because as long as the student enrollment in our schools continues to decline, we will have a funding problem for these programs,&uot; Reed said. &uot;I urge you as parents and community leaders to support any referendums that are brought by the Governor's office to raise money for our school systems.&uot;

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Reed said the system needs a substantial increase in local and state revenue to support Butler County schools.

&uot;We are still letting 20 teachers go,&uot; he said. &uot;We need your full support in the coming year to make sure that we won't have to cut programs next year or in the near future.&uot;

Several meeting attendees expressed their appreciation of the board's action.

Elton Jones, whose son, David, is a lieutenant colonel in the Army and serving in Iraq as the Interim Minister of Civil Aviation and Chief Aerospace Liaison Officer, shared some thoughts from Lt. Col. Jones on the value of the JROTC program at area high schools.

Jones graduated from Greenville High School and completed his JROTC training in GHS' program.

&uot;My son wanted me to express his support for the program,&uot; Jones said. &uot;He told me that the qualities of teamwork, leadership and discipline, packaged together, are values he uses in his work today that are rooted in the instruction he received through the JROTC program at GHS.&uot;

Benjamin Hall also commended the board's decision to retain the program, citing the importance of discipline, which is a fundamental aspect of the JROTC program, in a school's curriculum.

&uot;District Attorney John Andrews said that as long as he has been district attorney, he doesn't recall any member of the JROTC being called before Butler County's courts,&uot; Hall said. &uot;I think this illustrates clearly the effect that the program has on our young people and the discipline it provides.&uot;

Board member Frank Thigpen expressed his gratitude for the showing of support for the JROTC program, but strongly urged the crowd to use that support for the school system as a whole.

&uot;We don't need to wait until a crisis comes to have your support,&uot; Thigpen said. &uot;We need your support all year long.&uot;