Opposing drills in a primary school

My daughter attends a local state school. We were notified that a retired military officer would be in attendance at the school to put the children through military drills. This troubled my conscience.

Schoolboy standing with a soldier shadow
Challenging the unquestioned militarisation of education. Image: Quakers in Britain

The purpose of his visit was to put the children through military drills, the like of which would have been seen during the war and are probably still practised. Although I could accept my daughter watching this for educational purposes, to partake in a military drill I felt as a Quaker and parent was one step too far. There are numerous examples in history of people who would find that this troubled their conscience and I felt like this at the time.

Not an optional activity

It was not promoted as an 'optional' activity. In fact, it was only because my daughter mentioned it in passing that I knew this was happening at all and it was just assumed that all children would take part.

Challenging the school

I wrote a letter to the school to briefly outline why I did not want my daughter to engage in a military drill and they called me to explain further. They then accepted my objection. She watched the activity but was the only child to sit out.

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