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Clara Lightner and Her Classmates



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May 16 - Interview



Clara organized her classmates to protest the military recruiting at her highschool. In the USA there is something called ROTC. This is "Reserve Officer Training Corps" I think this was mainly started to recruit college and university students into the military and make them into officers.

They basically sign people up to join the military and teach them how to kill people "effectively." They also teach them to be "leaders". And they are probably now giving them training in "Emotional Intelligence - Army Style" If they are, you can be pretty sure they are using Dan Goleman's concept of EI and not mine. And chances are pretty good they would be using Reuven BarOn's so-called test of emotional intelligence.

They also have something called JROTC, which is Junior ROTC. I am guessing this is to start brainwashing even younger people. Evidently these JROTC recruiters are now going into the highschools. I assume they are in the majority of highschools in the USA now with all the interest in wars and killing people. I am guessing that JROTC is a bit like the CCF - Combined Cadet Force in England)

I am guessing Clara is 16 years old. One reason I am putting this story on my site is so depressed, self, harming and suicidal teens like Ocean, Jen and Brooke can feel inspired and feel less powerless to change things they feel opposed to and things which hurt them. I want to help them learn to trust their feelings, speak out, organize, seek emotional support from others who share their feelings and not let the adults make them feel weak, incompetent, inadequate, weird, crazy and powerless.

I am planning to write Clara to ask how much she feels understood and supported by her parents. One thing self-harming teens have in common is they don't feel understood and supported by their parents. They couldn't dream of doing what Clara has done, simply because all their lives they have not received emotional support and understanding. I could be wrong, but I am guessing Clara feels supported and understood at or above the 8 level.

So here are stories about Clara's efforts to set up a student organization in her school to protest against these recruiters coming into the school.

Steve's personal note about me considering joining ROTC when I was 18

This was from a website in the UK


May 6, 2005

Foss High students win victory for free speech and counter-recruitment movement

Thanks to everyone who called in to support us

I’m happy to announce that Principal Sharon Schauss has finally agreed to our proposals for Students Against the Draft and War.

Clara Lightner (sophomore at Foss High School, Tacoma, WA)

This victory for free speech was the result of the tremendous student support we recieved in Foss and also the phone calls to my administrators from thousands of supporters from around the country and world. Today I had a meeting with Principal Schauss and informed her of SADW’s three key demands:

1. The right to find out two weeks before the military recruiters are scheduled to come to our school. We also want the right to put up a table next to the recruiters with alternative points of view and information.

2. The right to have weekly meetings in the school in order to build our student club.

3. Permission for having the meeting next Tuesday, May10, that we had planned for May 5, including the guest speaker, Ty Moore, of Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Principal Schauss has agreed to the first two demands. She will also agree to the third one after she has seen the video we are going to show: Military Myths, which I plan to bring to her on Monday. She will also talk to the school board and go through the necessary procedures to have guest speaker Ty Moore come in.

I’d also like to describe how May 5th went. That morning, before school, I went into Principal Schauss’s office with a member of Socialist Alternative, Jessica Pruitt, who has been helping out with the campaign.

We asked Principal Schauss whether or not she was allowing the meeting to happen that afternoon.

Mrs. Schauss, of course, told us we could not hold the meeting because we had not filled out all the proper paperwork and did not have $1 million in insurance.

Although we had a chartered student club willing to sponsor us, she still would not let us hold a meeting. This is a hypocritical double standard because other student clubs don't need to fill out paper work or get Principal Schauss's approval to bring guests into our school.

After not letting us explain ourselves for most of the meeting, Principal Schauss threw us out of her office. Jessica was attempting to explain that she was not clear on the procedure when Principal Schauss yelled at us to exit the office. We immediately took that as another infringement on our rights as students.

Press conference

That afternoon, we called a press conference. I spread the news through the entire school and passed out fliers urging students to meet in front of the school for a protest/press conference.

A couple newspapers showed up, Tacoma News Tribune and the Tacoma Weekly. I was interviewed and gave a speech to the students who were there.

The speech went well, except for one point where the JROTC who had been watching attempted to disrupt by laughing loudly. I, of course, thanked them for being so mature and went on speaking.

Also, Principal Schauss attempted to break up the press conference in the middle by making an announcement over the intercom for everyone to leave.

She was ignored and the meeting went on very well. We had 40 students sign up for our e-mail list and met students who were very interested in becoming very involved. We now have nearly 100 students signed up on the list.

Tacoma News Tribune

This morning, I found a large article about the event in the Tacoma News Tribune. It made the front cover of the local news section with a large picture of myself giving my speech. It can be found at http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/education/ story/4839747p-4444990c.html

I’ve also had a few confrontations with JROTC students who were quite angry with me, but I was able to explain myself.

I found that most of the JROTC students are very open-minded and considerate. We are not against the JROTC students. We understand that most young people join the military because they don’t see any decent jobs or educational opportunities out there. (Steve's suggestion)

We are against people being signed up to die for a war about oil and empire.  We are fighting for more money for jobs and education so young people can chose an alternative to the military.

Hopefully, we will make peace with them and will be able to have meetings in the future with no problem. We are also offering the JROTC students the opportunity to come to any of our meetings to watch or speak if they request it.

So, I’d like to thank everyone who called in and e-mailed Principal Sharon Schauss and Superintendent James Shoemake.


Even the steelworkers national union office called me to guarantee 100 calls to my principal from their members, and more support if we needed it. The entire school was aware that they had been receiving hundreds of phone calls each day from all over the world.

I’d like to thank member of the local coalition for their help.  I’d like to give a special thanks to Socialist Alternative, the organization I joined recently for giving me help, support, advice, and all the resources I needed.

It all went so well that there is no more need to call or e-mail. We will also update everyone on how next Tuesday goes.

Thank you all again for calling and supporting us. This has been a major success for our school and for Students Against the Draft and War.



Steve's Suggestion

One thought. For the emotionally intelligent teens in the USA who would never even consider going into the military, but who want a job, I suggest they try to get to South America where they can easily make a living teaching English. They don't need a college degree. All they need to do is speak English. It is very cheap to live here and there are lots of volunteer opportunities. I alone need a lot of people to help me with my projects and I provide room and board and a little spending money. As more emotionally intelligent people leave and take volunteer jobs and low paying, but emotionally rewarding jobs, there will be more jobs at McDonalds, Walmart, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Barnes and Noble. So the people who would have gone to the military just to have a job, can go work there instead.

Clara Lightner, Students against the Draft and War, Tacoma, US, Thursday 5 May 2005

Today, 5 May, we are planning to hold a teach-in against military recruitment in schools. However, under pressure from the JROTC at my school, my principal, Sharon Schauss, informed me yesterday that our meeting would be cancelled. This is a violation of our free speech rights and is effectively denying dozens of students interested in Students Against the Draft and War the right to organize. Meanwhile, military recruiters and the JROTC program have the freedom to regularly push their agenda at my school.

I am asking you to call and/or e-mail my principal and Superintendent James F. Shoemake, and urge them to respect our free speech rights and allow our meeting to go on as planned. Their contact information is listed below.

Background Story

A few months ago, I began working with local anti-war activists to start a counter-military recruitment campaign at my school. Over fifty students signed up to support or join Students Against the Draft and War. The teach-in tomorrow was going to be the first big public event for our group. We planned to show a documentary and have a counter-military recruitment organizer from Minneapolis come in to speak.

However, yesterday, Chief Allen, a JROTC instructor confronted my vice-principal and my teacher, who had offered access to his classroom for our after-school meeting. Chief Allen accused my teacher of trying to take his job away.. Also, some students in my school’s JROTC program were planning to disrupt the meeting by bursting in wearing their combat uniforms.

Then today, Principal Schauss approached my teacher and I during lunch and informed us that our meeting was being cancelled. Principal Schauss stated the reason for canceling our meeting was that we had not given her proper notice and that we were not already an approved student club. But student charters are only allowed in the fall, which prevents students from organizing around issues at any other time in the year. If a guest speaker came to talk to students starting a chess club in the Spring, the principal would not try and shut them down.

We are able to draw the conclusion that this is politically motivated. Principal Schauss even explained to me that she was only endorsing one program at our school concerning this issue, and that was the JROTC. This attitude shows the powerful influence of the military in Tacoma and of the JROTC, which has programs in every public high school in this city.

Please call today:

Principal Sharon Schauss

Tel: 001253-571-2300

Superintendent James Shoemake

Tel: 001253-571-1000

Thank you so much for your support.

Copies of protest letters to

Clara Lightner, sophomore at Foss High School, Tacoma WA

Students Against the Draft and War

Email: ausrotten_oi @ hotmail.com (remove spaces)

A personal note about me wanting to join ROTC

Believe it or not I actually considered joining this myself when I was around 18. I wanted to learn how to fly and if you joined the Air Force ROTC they would teach you. I had met someone who had done this and he was a pilot. He was one of my brother's friends. I thought being a pilot would be very cool. I looked up to this friend of my brother. But when I got to Indiana University I found out that first, my eyes were not good enough to be a pilot (evidently I read too much when I was young). Second, I learned they make you cut your hair and impose a lot of other rules, so I decided against it! But it scares me to think I had actually even considered it.

Oh, something else ROTC does is they pay for your university degree and then they make you this offer that if you stay in the program for like 7 years after it, they will pay you a big pension. Since I was so interested in money back then I thought this sounded like a good deal. And now I remember there was a recruiting officer who came to our highschool, North Side High School in Fort Wayen, Indiana. He drove a Porsche. He was basically bragging and showing off, needless to say. This sickens me now that I think about it. I used to want a Porsche. I used to want to be like that guy. It's pretty embarrassing, but its true. I also studied business and used to wear suits and ties and even carry a briefcase! Yep. That was the "brainwashed Steve". This is the real Steve you are seeing now. I only found my real self because I left the places I was being brainwashed. I started to travel and think and feel for myself.


Note on the word "effectively"

I put effectively in quotes because people like David Caruso use the word :"effective" so much when they talk about emotional intelligence. I want people like David to think twice before he uses it. In other words, to think about what he really means by "effective" and then say it more clearly and specifically. It's a little like how I want him and others to be more specific than just using words like "good" and "evil."