CHICAGO — An investigation by the Chicago Public Schools’ Inspector General found hundreds of students were automatically placed into military-type education classes, even though it’s supposed to be a voluntary program.
According to the IG report, over the last two years, four of 37 CPS schools with Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs enrolled 100 percent of their freshmen into the program.
“At some CPS high schools, JROTC enrollment often operated like a pre-checked box: students were automatically placed in JROTC and they had to get themselves removed from it if they did not want it. Sometimes this was possible; sometimes it was not. Some opt-out procedures were never explained or not easily achieved when attempted,” according to the report.
JROTC is offered at some schools in lieu of physical education, but some students say they were never offered freshman PE.
Principals offered various explanations for the high JROTC enrollment, including difficulty in finding PE teachers, as well as the low cost of JROTC programs.