Carvers Bay enlists ninth grade
Freshmen all put in JROTC
By Gina Vasselli
Aug. 22, 2010
Welcome to high school. Now drop and give me 50.
The entire freshman class at Carvers Bay High School has been
automatically enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps,
a military-sponsored program that trains high school students in
military discipline and concepts. Principal Richard Neal, a Navy
veteran, said the school's Marine Corps JROTC class is fulfilling the
student's physical education requirement and is part of the school's
Ninth Grade Academy.
But Charles Holloway, the parent of a freshman student at Carvers
Bay, said he did not want his son in that program and when he asked
that his son be taken out, his son was put in a class by
himself.Holloway said he feels his son was being punished for not
wanting to take part in that class.
Holloway said the JROTC class simply showed up on his son's schedule
in place of gym class and he did not receive any information about
the class or how to get his son out of it.
"What happened to our freedom of choice?" Holloway said. "I wanted
nothing to do with anything related to the military."
According to the South Carolina Department of Education, high school
students must take at least one credit of physical education in order
to graduate. ROTC can also fill that requirement.
Neal said he initiated the program because studies show that students
in leadership programs are more likely to stay in school and
graduate. He said so far the program has had an "extremely high
positive response," but "any parent who did not want their son or
daughter [to participate] has the opportunity to participate in other
Neal said letters and fliers about Ninth Grade Academy were sent to
parents. The class is an elective and students had the option to
select other programs as well, he said, but noted that the ninth
grade class was "enrolled" in the program.
"We accepted all of the freshman class into our program," said Master
Sgt. Joe Epps, one of the instructors of the ROTC program at Carvers
Bay. "What used to be the PE element ... we have taken that over."
Georgetown County Superintendent Randy Dozier said freshmen are not
required to take part in the JROTC class.
"We're not going to draft people into ROTC if they don't want to be
in there," Dozier said. "They certainly can opt out."
Holloway said he is concerned that other parents do not know their
child is in this program. He said that other students are "going to
my son, saying 'how did you get out of it?'"
"No one else knows because no one else is in that second class with
my son," he said. "This was not transparent."
Contact GINA VASSELLI at 443-2434.
Principal replaces PE class with Junior ROTC
August 22, 2010
By Scott Harper
GEORGETOWN, S.C. Charles Holloway was not a happy man when his 9th
grade son who attends Carvers Bay High told him he was being forced
to take part in the school's Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program.
However, school officials said the replacement of Physical Education
with ROTC for the freshman class is part of the Ninth Grade Academy
and parents can have their child opt out.
Holloway spoke to the Georgetown Times Friday about his concern.
He said he was first told about the required program on July 28 while
registering his son for the new school year.
"When I informed the Principal (Richard Neal) that my son and myself
had no interest in the ROTC program, I was told that the decisions
had been made and there was nothing that could be done," Holloway said.
Neal says the idea to replace PE with ROTC was made after he read
studies that indicate students who participate in such
leadership-based programs are less likely to drop out and will graduate.
Holloway said he contacted the State Board of Education and was told
a mandatory ROTC program would not replace PE. However, the state
does allow ROTC to replace PE if a student chooses that option.
On Aug. 2, Holloway received a call from Neal who said his son would
not have to participate in the ROTC program.
"Having thought this was the outcome my son and I both wanted, I was
glad that we took a stand against not having a choice," he said.
However, when school began Wednesday, Holloway was surprised when he
learned the alternative his son was given. Instead of taking ROTC,
his son is in a "Career Skills" class alone with a teacher, he said.
"Where are the other children who may have not chosen ROTC?,"
Holloway said he wonders. "Why is my son the only one" Is it possible
that no one else knows that ROTC is not mandatory?"
Neal says the feedback he has received so far has been positive but
adds the alternative class is available if any other parents do not
want their child in the ROTC program.