That’s the sign that a group of freshmen will see when they walk through the doors of the Delaware Academy for Public Safety and Security in Wilmington, Delaware on a fall day in 2010.
As the brainchild of several lawmakers and a 72 year-old Jarhead, hand-to-hand combat expert, and Judo coach extraordinaire, the school will train young men and women (mostly from the “inner city”), for a wide variety of first responder Homeland Security jobs.
The school’s curriculum is designed to prepare kids for careers as prison guards, SWAT teamers, paramedics, demolitionists, and firefighters; you know, all the jobs that don’t necessarily require a high school degree and which you can qualify for after a two-week course.
This “innovative” plan has garnered support from Delaware’s Senate Minority Leader, House speaker, and many of our favorite organizations from the prison-military-industrial complex. They claim that their plan will not only grant every parent’s wish of seeing their kids read weapons manuals instead of Hemingway, but it will also help keep their children from succumbing to a life of “apathy or crime.”
This new direction in education policy begs the question: have our elected leaders completely given up on these kids, or are they trying to provide them with skills that won’t require them to work minimum wage jobs? I think there is an argument to be made for both sides, but I question this specific solution, especially when most of our schools lack the funds to graduate even a small percentage of their students ready for college.
The government’s “altruistic” motives aside, I think it’s important to take a look at the absurd way that these kids exist in a cycle, and why the government feels the need to create a high school whose purpose is to help fight the war on (insert drugs, war, sex, terrorism, gangs, etc. here).
Decades of educational, infrastructural, and healthcare divestment throughout the country, especially in urban communities of color, has left several generations of young men and women with no alternatives.
Now the government, well aware of the effects of their public policies, finds it has created a pool of recruitable young people that they can train to work for the very system that left them with no other option.