Education Action: Toronto

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Time to End Army Recruitment in Schools

by Doug Little

When I taught at my last high school, Rosedale Heights School of the Arts in Toronto, I could never convince our head of guidance not to put DND recruitment posters up on the guidance bulletin board. Every time she did it I would come back in a few hours and remove it and throw it out. She would then say, “those darn kids won’t leave the army posters up very long.” I would tell her, of course not, they are not popular. I never have had the time to join the other educators who put a lot more time into this and I feel a little guilty about it but perhaps this helps.

It seems the army is once again approaching schools across Canada to recruit for the services in high schools, CEJEPs in Quebec and other schools. Various groups opposed to the war in Afghanistan naturally oppose this and attempt to expose the military agenda and limit the effectiveness of these campaigns. This has led to some mini confrontations across the country, blocking, counter leafleting, a few shouting matches but it seems the military is in tough straits as the war becomes less and less popular. The accusations arise once again that the military targets working class, rural and hinterland provinces because they don’t get the same resistance there are met with denial from DND. The Michael Moore movie Fahrenheit 911 clearly showed the American military at malls in poor areas where people are more desperate, as prime recruitment areas.

Those who might want to help to resist the recruitment drive ought to check where they can pick up some valuable information on this campaign.

I still recall a poster from my own university days. The military recruitment campaign slogan of the time was “There is no life like it” and it had a Peter Pan, boys need never grow up appeal of tanks racing over sand dunes, soldiers jumping out of helicopters into the sea, wow what an exciting life. The counter poster was of a scene inside a veteran’s hospital where each vet had one eye, one leg, one arm wheel chairs everywhere. The slogan was “there is no life like it.” That kind of thing stays with you. I thought about it every time I ripped down another poster at Rosedale Heights.

This article has been taken with the author’s permission from the The Little Education Report, an extraordinarily valuable source on what’s happening in education today. You can find it at


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