Educators Voice Concerns over Local Military Schools

Terre Haute Tribune, November 25, 1915, page 1


Tribune Interviews Principals on Proposals to Introduce Military Training In Schools


Many Hold That Gymnasium Work Would Furnish All the Benefits Without Inculcating War Spirit.

The experiment of compulsory military training being tried in some eastern schools does not as a while meet with the approbation of the local principals of schools. It is the consensus of opinion that a move of this nature would not only meet with strenuous opposition from the parents, this destroying the hearty co-operation which the teachers feel is now established, but the move would not meet with the interest or co-operation of the pupils themselves. It is the opinion of some that such a plan would undoubtedly have its good effects along with the drawbacks but that the disadvantages would outnumber the advantages.

It was said that such a move on the part of the local schools would undoubtedly meet with the prevailing sentiment of nation-wide preparedness, but on the other hand the time consumed in military training could be devoted to the improvement of the mind and in this manner do more good than improvement of the military spirit, some of the principals think.

C.J. Waits, superintendent of city schools, of eight interviews stood along strongly for the movement. All the rest expressed themselves as unfavorable toward the plan in practice. They said that such a project was too idealistic for common use. Some of the opinions follow.

C.J. Waits, superintendent of city schools: “Military training would be good for the pupils on the whole. It is one of the first steps of physical training and the young boy takes more

Terre Haute Tribune, November 25, 1915, page 7


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interest in soldiering than he does in the cut and dried physical cultural exercises. It would also give an element of reality to the preparedness which is now being preached from some quarters.”

Would Oppose It.

T.W. records, principal of Garfield high school: “I am not in favor of the move because I think it would cause conscientious objections from the parents of the city. We would get less cooperation than we now do. Those adhering to the idea of universal peace would not care to have their children brought up under the martial spirit. We once had a voluntary cadet corps at the school and even that cause agiators to come out against us. Students can get the same training in gym work that they can on the parade ground. For these reasons I do not think that I am in favor of the movement.

O.E. Conner, principal of Wiley high school: “I do not think that there will ever be any necessity for military training in the public school. Let the students take gymnasium work and when the time comes that they must be called out to defend their country they will be at least well versed in the drills and will then only have to pick up the manuel at arms. Many other things are far more important to the American youth that militarism. I believe that the country’s defenses should be strengthened, but I do not think that its youth should be imbued with the idea that he is being brought up with a sole objective of being a soldier.”

O.E. Curry, principal of the Thompson school: “I do not regard the proposition favorably. It interferes with the school work which is much more beneficial to the student than military training. I think that on a while it would be a good thing but it should be introduced in the high schools and not in the grades. Our boys are too young to take up with such an idea and carry it successfully.”

Not Without Benefit.

A.R. Neyhouse, principal of the Fairbanks school: “we tried a corps of cadets here but found that it was not practical on account of their youth. I am not much of a warrior, but I do think that military training can do wonders in perfecting the carriage of a young boy. Such training is better than calesthenics because the boys take more interest in it.”

Miss Helen Tyler, principal of the Crawford school: “I see no need for military training. We have other things which almost touch on it. The children are drilled continuously in passing to and from the rooms and at physical culture. There are many other things that are for the betterment of the children.”

Miss Alice Dempsey, principal of the Deming school, refused to make a statement on the subject. She said that she was not prepared to come out for or against the plan as she had not given the matter much thought.