January 27, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The four Saskatchewan peace groups that rallied against the military training program in Regina high schools are pleased that the program has been cancelled for 2016 due to low enrollment. As of January 22, only 5 students out of a possible 40 were enrolled in the program.
The program, which is offered by both Regina Public and Catholic high schools, started in 2015. Students who take the program receive $2,000 and two credits toward graduation.
According to officials at Regina Public, the reason for the low enrollment is a very challenging military application process. However, the enrollment figures provided over the past few months by those same board officials tell a different story. In mid-October, they said it was too early for them to have figures. In mid-November, they said 20 students had enrolled. By January 11, enrollment had dropped to 13. Less than two weeks later, only five students remained.
“The colonel in charge of the program said at the outset: ‘We’ll gage success by the graduates. They’ll vote with their feet,’” said Florence Stratton, a member of PeaceQuest Regina and Making Peace Vigil, two of the peace groups that campaigned to have the program cancelled. “That is exactly what the students have done. Despite the $2,000 incentive, they have voted with their feet against the military training program.”
“The majority of Regina high school students have said ‘no’ to being educated for war,” said Ed Lehman, a member of both PeaceQuest Regina and Regina Peace Council. ‘They want to serve their communities in a peaceful manner. Enrollment was also low in 2015, with only 9 students graduating from the program.”
The peace groups call on the Public and Catholic school boards, as well as the provincial government, to respect the students’ decision and to cancel the program permanently. They intend to continue campaigning for a peace curriculum to be put in place. The groups are also working toward the restoration of Katimavik, a federal government program that provides youth with peaceful opportunities to make positive change in their lives and communities.
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