Members of the South Carolina National Guard respond to Hurricane Matthew. US Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 250 National Guard personnel Monday, Sept. 13, to drive students to school in some Massachusetts cities and towns amid widespread bus driver shortages. While it can be argued that there is definitely a terror aspect to a bus full of screaming children, having the National Guard fill roles in the public school system is a strange use of a force that typically handles emergency situations and natural disasters. Bringing in the National Guard to drive school children around raises a litany of questions, the least of which is: Just how dangerous are the kindergarteners in Massachusetts if you need trained soldiers to transport them?
Regardless, supporting its community is what the National Guard does. If the governor of Massachusetts wants to insert members of the United States military into the public school systems, we’ve got some ideas on how best to do so.
Here are five other roles the National Guard could fill in public schools.
Who better to teach physical education to America’s youth than the gold standard of physical health and wellness: the United States infantryman. Imagine a modified physical education curriculum that replaces useless things, like volleyball and stretching, with practical skills, like rucking and being able to kick the shit out of someone. Beyond physical health, the infantry gym teacher would also be well suited to teach the students important life skills, like not taking shit from anyone, talking yourself out of a DUI, and coping with multiple divorces. By the end of the school year, students will walk away fitter, more confident, and with substantial lower back pain.
Military recruiters would make excellent guidance counselors, as both jobs require a complete lack of concern for the wellbeing of others and the willingness to trick people into Faustian deals that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Despite seeming very different, these two roles share a fundamental result — pain. Guidance counselors typically help students prepare for college, while recruiters provide opportunities for people who don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting into college. One convinces young, impressionable minds to commit four years of their lives to extreme duress and hardship with little payoff, while the other sends young, impressionable minds to war. Both groups enjoy tricking young, impressionable minds into bad decisions, so why not combine the two?
In a modern age in which it’s borderline criminal just to hurt someone’s feelings, instilling a bit of grit and toughness in today’s youth might be just what our society needs. Having medics serve as school nurses makes perfect sense, as they can provide expert health care and teach kids important lessons on self-care, resilience, and toughness. Want a Band-Aid for your boo-boo? Sorry, no bitchstickers here, kid. Take a knee and drink water. Your belly hurts? Hopefully, you cough up some courage with all that vomit. Take a knee and drink water. Got into a fight? If you won, here’s 800 mg of Motrin. If you lost, just get out. Allergic to peanuts? You don’t need an EpiPen; you need to stop eating peanuts. This is the type of medical care that will heal what truly ails us: weakness.
This one is a no-brainer. If home economics were still a thing, maybe the cooks could teach that. Unfortunately, modern education isn’t centered around teaching kids practical skills, and military cooks don’t actually know how to cook; at least, not in the traditional sense of the word. They are, however, versed in some strange alchemy that allows them to transform the inedible into the edible (best not to ask where the turf comes from in your surf and turf). Put military cooks on the lunch line, and students will gain a better understanding of edible foods, portion control, and the importance of ensuring quick access to a bathroom.
Chlorophyll? More like Bore-o-phyll. Physics can be dry, so who better to make it fun than people who use it to blow shit up for a living? There is zero chance of your kid ever remembering anything about wave-particle duality, but there is a good chance they’ll remember exactly how much plastic explosive will knock out a door without rupturing the internal organs of everyone in the hallway after a live breach demonstration. Let’s talk about the art of destroying bridges and identifying the key points of structural integrity in a building. Engineers would make stellar physics teachers because their curriculums would be explosively fun.
Students must sign waivers before class.
Eric Miller is a former Army Combat Medic from Parkersburg, West Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and has worked with homeless populations and veteran services throughout the state. He is an avid outdoorsman and has recently become interested in woodworking.
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