L.D. 750 will allow Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps instructors to teach in Maine high schools without state certification. JROTC is effective as a military recruiting program, the U.S. Department of Defense has acknowledged.

The U.S. has signed the U.N. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, one purpose of which is to raise “the age of possible recruitment of persons into armed forces.” In the case of the protocol, the age of a child is 17 and under.

The protocol also condemns “with the gravest concern the recruitment, training and use within and across national borders of children” and recognizes “the special needs of those children who are particularly vulnerable to recruitment … contrary to the present protocol owing to their economic or social status or gender.”

In June 1999, Convention No. 182 on the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, “which prohibits, inter alia, forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict,” was unanimously adopted by the U.S. and the other International Labor Organization member states.

Therefore, based on the existing protocol and convention, JROTC should not operate in high schools in the U.S., to say nothing of allowing JROTC instructors to teach in Maine high schools without certification.

Please contact your state senator and representative to oppose L.D. 750 before Wednesday’s public hearing on the bill.

Ginny Schneider
Portland


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