A public military school

DeKalb school officials are opening a military-style public school even though the involvement of the U.S. Marines has upset many parents and other community activists.
Opponents say the school is a ploy to help the Marines recruit students.
But school officials insist the school is not a military training center. Superintendent Crawford Lewis said the magnet school provides parents with another option.
The school, which is planned to open in August, will have a principal to oversee academics, including a focus on math and science. The district also hired a commandant to oversee a military-style regimen. The Marines and the district would share the costs of running the school.
The military already has permission to visit high schools and recruit students. Many high schools offer JROTC programs, which teach leadership, discipline and communication skills while exposing students to opportunities available in the military.
Is DeKalb showing innovation with this school? Or are parents and others right to protest a school run with the military?

20 comments Add your comment


March 24th, 2009
8:49 am

This is a GREAT idea. Other districts should consider the same. The complaining parents should stand down. They are not getting results, so let someone else to do it.


March 24th, 2009
9:01 am

Sounds like a great plan to me. More Marine-style discipline is EXACTLY what is needed in schools, particularly for the kids who aren’t disciplined at home (both poor and rich).

As an aside for those wondering where I’ve been, I started my own blog back in January and much of my time outside of work and family is now spent on it. http://swgapolitics.wordpress.com

And don’t worry, this is the only time I’m going to mention it, and only did so because I know several long time commenters/readers here may like to know where I wandered off to.


March 24th, 2009
9:06 am

As long as attendance at the school is by choice, what’s the problem? The parents who don’t like it don’t have to send their children there.


March 24th, 2009
9:45 am

Considering there are other schools like this in the US it’s not very innovative. It’s just a proven way to provide a school choice to the students. I guess anyone has the right to protest anything the want to protest, but frankly it seems a stupid battle to fight. This looks like a very nice idea that will be a strong benefit for the students.


March 24th, 2009
11:09 am

I can only guess that the reason parents are upset is because it is using public money to fund the military school.

I don’t have a problem with it. In fact, if I were the school system, I would send the discipline problem students to that school…. it should do them some good.


March 24th, 2009
11:21 am

Love it! And if I lived close enough to work there, I would apply in a heartbeat – once a Marine, always a Marine. The Marine Corps discipline was the best thing that ever happened to me – Semper Fi!!!


March 24th, 2009
11:34 am

I wonder if the students’ scores will go up without the discipline problems. It is amazing how much teaching can get accomplished when the teacher doesn’t have to constantly tell a student to stop talking, sit down, come prepared, and spend time diffusing quarrels amongst students.

And the quiet kids that may not understand but get overlooked because the loud kids are disrupting.


March 24th, 2009
12:13 pm

Those parents certainly have a right to protest. However, I’m a middle school teacher in a rural county. Our high school has JROTC, and I have seen students who were goof-offs in middle school change for the better once they enroll in that program. A military style discipline and structure is what many, many students need. Since enrollment in this new school would probably be voluntary, I can’t see how it could hurt. Those who don’t want their children there wouldn’t have to send them.


March 24th, 2009
12:16 pm

This doesn’t bother me as much as allowing the military to recruit at schools. The recruitment guys who came to ours were always relentless and used high-pressure tactics, and 18-year-old seniors can make that huge commitment with little to no input from parents. With a charter school being offered as a choice, presumably parents are involved and themselves are making a committment as well. Kids there can also get a taste of what the military might be like and if Marines are on staff get to know their teachers who have served before deciding whether or not to sign up when they graduate as opposed to being recruited without much understanding what they’re getting into. Hopefully, their teachers will get to know them too and advise them on both the pros and cons of military life and really help them figure out if signing up is the right move for them as opposed to the recruiter’s job of selling kids on it.


March 24th, 2009
12:37 pm

The same parents who bitch about the county funding a military school presumably don’t have the same problem with the county funding a different kind of specialized school, such as the arts school — DeKalb School of the Arts. So the “specialized” arguement is for the birds. It’s just another option, and I think it’s a darn good one! If you don’t want it for your kid, then DON’T GO. But for kids who would benefit from the heightened discipline, especially at-risk kids, it could be a godsend.

Hi, Jeff, we wondered where you were !


March 24th, 2009
1:13 pm

Will this be a dumping ground for ‘troubled’ students? How do you control who enrols? Would the county strong-arm enrollment for students who are ‘at-risk’? There are private military schools – why does the county need to do this?
Also, how much this will be costing us and why we have to have it? Will we have to have a new facility built? Where is the money coming from? We have a lot of inequality – perceived or not – in Dekalb in respect to the school system – does setting up boutique schools really address the needs of the county? Or is it just another attempt to calm some loud complainers without incorporating a system-wide solution?

jim d

March 24th, 2009
1:49 pm

I rather like it myself.

We have publicly funded military colleges so what is the beef with military style High Schools? These are all schools of choice and I will damn sure guarantee that with military involvement there will be little or no discrimination. This school may well be a stepping stone for many students to continue their educations, in such fields as engineering, political science, and yes even education, at some of the finest colleges in the nation. VMI, The Citadel, our Military Academies and other prestigious schools.

KUDO’S Dekalb County, it is nice to see y’all have someone thinking outside of the box.


March 24th, 2009
3:24 pm

I am a Dekalb resident and teacher and former student. I have no problem with this school. What I am disappointed about is that in an effort to promote all of the school choices, no one is making sure that local neighborhood schools are just as appealing to parents. ALL Dekalb schools should offer an expansive, quality education to its students. Not just a select magnet, theme, or specialty schools.


March 24th, 2009
3:25 pm

@ Momof2—-The Marines are actually helping to fund this school, including paying teacher salaries.

Dumping ground

March 24th, 2009
5:49 pm

Will this be a dumping ground, the question is asked? I hope so! Put these troubled kids in an environment with STRUCTURE and DISCIPLINE, and maybe one day they won’t dump on society.


March 24th, 2009
7:16 pm

The biggest objection to the school is that they want to put it at an elementary school that is smack dab in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. The school currently has 40 profoundly handicapped students enrolled. These students will be moved to another special ed school. But an elementary school is not the right place for high schoolers. Perhaps the county can look at Briarcliff HS (currently the Arts HS). This sits right next to Adams Stadium and Kittridge Park. Given that the military puts a large emphasis on fitness, this makes the most sense.


March 24th, 2009
9:01 pm

Are the parents/community members the same ones who want school choice? So now there is a choice. I think the plan is a great idea. Discipline is one of the best routes to self-respect. Remember that discipline is not just punishment, it is a process for teaching and learning. The root of the word, disciple, should be a clear reminder to everyone of that fact.

Ellen Faulkner

March 24th, 2009
9:19 pm

Wow-great idea-Seems like a win-win situation to me!Students are exposed to regimen,discipline,and physical fitness and learn in the same environment…what’s wrong with this picture? As a high school teacher in Ga’s biggest system, programs like this should be applauded. A “militaresque” environment is what MANY students need!

Dr. Craig Spinks

March 25th, 2009
3:47 am

Don’t let my Marine Corps buddies hear about this! They’ll be relocating from Augusta to the ATL in pursuit of volunteer work at this new school.

[...] blogged about this school before, but what do you think of the program now that we have more [...]