Catholic school electors call for end to school military program

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February 3, 2015 by realrenewal

Regina Catholic school supporters have passed a motion calling for a military withdrawal from the field of education.

“Military training for youth contradicts Catholic social teachings that call for the promotion of human dignity and peacemaking,” said Judith Corkery, who introduced the motion at the Catholic schools annual meeting last night.

“Military training involves obedience without question, thus impeding the development of critical thinking – or, as a 17-year-old reservist I know was recently told by his commander, ‘If we tell you the sun rises in the west you must agree,’” she said.

The motion called on the school board to “inform the provincial government it does not want a military training program in its high schools” and to “work with the ministry of education to develop a course for credit in peace studies to replace the military training option.”

Stephen Moore, describing himself as “the product of the Catholic school system,” spoke in favour of the motion. Moore, a lecturer at Campion College, said he was raised in the Catholic school system, and that his daughter recently graduated from a Catholic high school. As well, he previously taught courses at the Royal Military College, where he witnessed the culture of military education first-hand.

He linked military training in the schools to the current political climate, which he said seeks to normalize war as the natural solution to world problems. He said his views were grounded in his understanding of Catholic teachings, quoting Pope Francis’s 2013 statement, “War is always a failure for humankind.”

He also quoted the Prophet Isiah’s well known ‘swords into ploughshares’ verse, which ends, “neither shall they learn war anymore.” Moore added that Peter called on faithful learners and teachers to be on the lookout for every opportunity to make sure the future is more peaceful than the past.

“If we want peace, if we look forward to a future…in which war is not considered normal or inevitable, we should start acting in small ways—in whatever small ways are available to us—to achieve it, and tonight offers an opportunity to make a statement in favour of peace.”

Meeting participants decided to take the opportunity, and passed the motion. In discussion following, trustee Nicole Sauer clarified that the board was not provided an opportunity to approve the program, but rather it was presented to them as an approved program.

Some 2,000 people across the province have signed a petition to the province, protesting the program’s imposition.

The meeting also passed a motion calling for a provincial audit of the P3 school plan, similar to a motion passed by Regina public school electors on Jan. 27.

 

RESOLUTION: MILITARY TRAINING IN REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS

Whereas the military training program about to be introduced in Regina Catholic high schools includes instruction in weapons handling, thus raising ethical questions about what we want young people to learn in our schools;

And whereas students who take the program will be paid $2,000, thus raising ethical questions about who the program is targeting;

And whereas the military training program is not compatible with the United Nations view of education as enabling “individuals to learn to live together in a world characterized by diversity and pluralism”;

And whereas military training involves obedience without question, thus impeding the development of critical thinking – or as a 17 year old reservist I know was recently told by his commander: “If we tell you the sun rises in the west you must agree”;

And whereas military training for youth contradicts Catholic social teachings that call for the promotion of human dignity and peacemaking;

Therefore be it resolved that the Regina Separate School Board inform the provincial government it does not want a military training program in its high schools and that it work with the Ministry of Education to develop a course for credit in Peace Studies to replace the military training option.

Moved by Judy Corkery

CARRIED
Text of Stephen Moore’s remarks

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