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Choosing A Military School ~ Things To Watch Out For

Updated on September 27, 2014
Some military schools are in very scenic locations and have been in existence for many years.
Some military schools are in very scenic locations and have been in existence for many years. | Source
Military schools help to teach young people respect for laws and for traditions.
Military schools help to teach young people respect for laws and for traditions. | Source
Good Military Schools feature great academics blended with discipline and structure.
Good Military Schools feature great academics blended with discipline and structure. | Source
Friendships are formed in military schools that often last for a lifetime.
Friendships are formed in military schools that often last for a lifetime. | Source

I Learned A Lot Recently During Several Writing Assignments ~

Since I've recently written many articles on the topic of different military schools, their benefits and general information about specific schools, I've learned a lot about sending a young person to a military school. One of the most important things to remember is that a reputable military school is not simply a place to send a young person who is having trouble with school or who is getting into trouble in a conventional school and in their lives.

Normally this applies to young men, but it can also apply to girls as well. Well-meaning parents who are desperate to get their child off the track they are currently on and to get them "straightened out" sometimes look into sending the young person to a military school. Most military schools are academy styled learning institutions that are meant to instill discipline and values into students. They feature excellent academics and a core curriculum with challenging coursework, combined with a regimented disciplinary style and a desire to instill admirable values into young people. These are are some of the best benefits to be seen from sending a young person to a military school.

There is a catch, however. Most military schools won't even take a young person who does not want to be there. If a parent is trying to force this type of education onto a young person, it usually will not work. What I've also learned is that there are some schools out there that are unscrupulous and not at all reputable. They are "boot-camp" type schools that are not even remotely associated with the United States Military. In some cases, they are dangerous and they can border on criminal.

A reputable military school will often feature an ROTC program, fully approved by one or more branches of the military. The ROTC program is run in accordance with established military principles and practices. Other military academy type schools, high schools and full time boarding schools that are privately run are selective, exclusive institutions that come with an exclusive school price tag. Many parents find that it is well worth the cost for the excellent education their child receives there.

When we lived in Wisconsin, we lived near a military academy called St. John Northwestern Military Academy. We would see these young men out and about in the community, dressed in military uniforms and they all had certain things in common. One of these was that they were unfailingly polite and well mannered. We attributed this to their surroundings and to their immersion into the military lifestyle at the school.

These are normally private academies and many of the graduates of these schools go on to experience a successful military career after graduation. Students usually have to apply to go to these schools, and it can be a tough process to get into them. Many students feel it is very worthwhile for the benefits they see. These benefits can include priority consideration when applying to college. In some cases, a prospective student will need a letter of recommendation from their state congressman before they can get in to the school.

When students graduate from reputable military academies and military high schools, they often receive preferential treatment and consideration when they are planning to go into a branch of the service. Some go into the service upon graduation as commissioned officers. In return for their education, they are sometimes required to serve in the military for a predetermined period of time.

Parents Might Be Unaware Of Problems With Some "BootCamp" Style Schools For Troubled Teens

I don't know of any parents who would knowingly and willingly send their child to a place where the child may potentially be abused, mistreated and/or harmed. Yet, this does go on. Parents who are at the end of their rope and who are desperate for a place to send their child to "straighten them out" sometimes look into boarding school programs as a possible solution. What I found out by researching is that some of these programs are NOT military schools at all. Even though some of them are listed under "military schools" when you do an Internet search on Google, and their websites are created in a way that can be very deceptive to someone doing a casual search, they are not "real" military schools.

One of my recent assignments was to find out if there are any military schools here in Nevada. In my search, I found that there are NO actual military schools in the state. There was, however, a school that was once located on the border of Nevada and California that was run by a group known as WWASP, also known as World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools. This school was eventually shut down and it moved, changed its name, and is now located in LaVerkin Utah on the grounds of what once was called Cross Creek Academy. This particular school was once called the Nevada Horizon Academy. It is now called the Youth Foundation Success Academy.

After some more research, I found that some of the founders and those who run this school have criminal histories, along with questionable credentials. This is why my advice to parents is, be sure to thoroughly investigate ANY school that you are considering sending your child to, whether it is a boarding school or a behavior modification program for teens, to find information on past successes and/or failures of the school. Delve into the backgrounds of the people running the school. NEVER send your child to a school "sight unseen".

I've read about cases where desperate parents agreed to send their child to one of these schools, without having ever visited the facilities themselves. What was even more shocking to me is the prices these schools charge ($2,000 to $4,000 per MONTH in some cases) is exorbitant to begin with. It amazed me why a parent would send a child to a school without ever seeing the facilities and talking to the staff there.

In my opinion, if a child is having problems, being belligerent, getting into trouble, etc. they do need help. What they do NOT need is to be sent to a place where sometimes they are drugged in order to be taken there, because parents know the child would resist. Once they are at one of these "bootcamps", they are then subjected to abusive methods of "discipline" that seem to border on criminal if they aren't indeed criminal.

RED FLAGS To Watch For:

Here are some "red flags" to watch for when you are considering a boarding school to send your child to. Reconsider sending your child to one of these schools if one or more of these factors are present.

  • The school has been in its current location for less than five years. This might not always be an actual red flag, but it is something to be aware of.
  • If the school was previously in another location, then was shut down and has recently moved.
  • If any of the staff members have a prior criminal history, or you find by researching on the Internet that they use questionable practices when conducting business and when operating these schools.
  • If the name of the school has been changed recently. This is an attempt often times to "hide" something in the past of those running the school, to hide past legal actions, or to disassociate themselves with a shady operation.
  • Look into any legal actions that have been previously taken against the school. If you find any, I would most likely take that school out of consideration.

Some REAL Military Schools To Consider

If your child shows an interest in entering the military upon graduation from high school or college, there are high schools located across the country that are either military academy high schools, or that have a reputable ROTC program. If your child wishes to attend one of the five military academies where their education is paid for in exchange for an agreement to join in military service after graduation, there are five good schools to choose from.

  1. The United States Military Academy located in West Point, New York
  2. The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  3. The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland
  4. The United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York
  5. The United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut

We have actually visited the campus of the Naval Academy in Maryland, and it is an incredibly nice facility and well worth considering if your child is interested in the Navy after graduation. I'm sure the other academies are just as outstanding and are a great option for young people who know exactly what it is they want to do after graduating.

For a young person who wants a military academy education without the obligation to join in military service, there are schools, especially high schools, that feature a great education. As a bonus, many of these young people get preferential treatment when they apply to the college of their choice. Some students do not go into military service, but instead choose to go into other government work, or they choose employment on a private level in fields like engineering, medicine, scientific careers or other interesting careers.

Whatever choice you help your child to make, take extra care and extra time to really look into the background of the school you are considering sending your child to. If you wish to send your child to an accredited school that is affiliated with a branch of the military, look for those credentials.

Some schools, as I quickly found out, are not actual military schools at all. When it comes to something as crucial as your child's education, you want to make a good and informed choice. Often times, guidance counselors at your child's current school can be a valuable resource. Or, talk to someone who is actually affiliated with the military for their recommendations. Don't leave something as important as your child's education to chance! Best of luck to you. I hope this has been helpful to you in your quest to find the perfect school solution for your unique child.


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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      4 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Please note I said, "There is always a constructive alternative from the standpoint of the individual." We are responsible for ourselves, not for the actions of someone else. We join social groups and adopt their goals. We should choose a group which matches our own goals. What goals do we set for ourselves?

      Military academies funnel into the military. Here is the Soldiers Creed of the U.S. Army.

      I am an American Soldier.

      I am a Warrior and member of a team.

      I serve the people Of the United States and live the Army Values.

      I will always place the mission first.

      I will never accept defeat.

      I will never quit.

      I will never leave a fallen comrade.

      I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.

      I always maintain my arms, my equipment, and myself.

      I am an expert and I am a professional.

      I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of The United States of America in close combat.

      I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

      I am an American Soldier.

      "I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of The United States of America in close combat."

      What enemies? Who decides who is the enemy? This is the problem: the enemy of the state may not be the enemy of the individual. By joining the Army you make the enemies of the state into your enemies. It is better not to acquire enemies.

      The Master said, love your enemies. Be good to those who hurt you or spitefully use you. Love one another.

      In a more practical sense, does the U.S. Government make mistakes in deciding who is the enemy? Is there anything more constructive the individual can do than acquire enemies? This thinking process is not taught in military academies. The discipline is good, but military academies do not teach young people to think for themselves individually.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Jay C OBrien! You've brought up some excellent points to think about! I honestly believe it's better to walk away when we can... but there are certain enemies that exist in the world that we cannot do that with.

      I'm troubled by the idea of teaching young people to kill, too. I like the idea of military academies to give students structure, discipline and routine. I think kids need those things. I think they would be better served learning other ways to deal with a fight however, when that's possible.

      Very good points! I'm curious to hear what others think! Thank you for your great comment!

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      4 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Very interesting Hub. I would like to share my life's experiences for your readers.

      I went to High School ROTC for three years and decided to go to Junior College. When I applied to a four year College they would not accept me into their ROTC program. That ended a career in the military.

      Many years later I graduated from law school and interviewed with a JAG officer. He told me, "You are too old." I was 37 at the time so I became a peace officer.

      I was a "hawk" in my youth. Now I am a retired peace officer and after much reflection, I have turned, "dove." Military academies can be good for the upbringing for some people, but remember: Military Academies teach young people it is OK to kill.

      Teaching our children to kill troubles me. We should teach our children to use constructive alternatives to fighting. There is always a constructive alternative from the standpoint of the individual.

      What do you think we should teach our children:

      walk away from a fight or

      go to a fight?

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks for your sweet comment, Dianna! I was hoping the tips made sense. I would hate for parents to make a decision they end up regretting! Thanks again! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      There is a wealth of information for parents to consider here when looking at military schools. Your tips and advice will help them to make an informed choice. Thanks for sharing from your experience.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Pamela! We felt blessed, too, because we never had problems with our guys either when they were growing up, apart from very minor things. It has to be awful for parents who are really looking for a good way to help their kids. I guess I wanted to warn these parents about the bad "schools" or "camps" out there! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, I appreciate that! :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a very interesting hub, although I have no direct experience with military or private school. In fact, I am glad my boys are grown and we only had minor problems. I have heard of some bad situations, and I am glad you pointed out the best schools. It would seem that checking out the school thoroughly would be the most important aspect of the big decision. Voted up, useful, interesting.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much for your wonderful support, Beckie! :) It surprised me how authentic the websites looked of schools that are not military schools at all. I completely understood how easily a desperate parent could fall for one of these "bootcamp" styled schools! Thanks so much for the great votes and for the shares! :)

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Kathy - Bravo to a thorough and important "spotlight" on the dos' and don't to Military education. You point out a very important feature many are not aware of. Although Upstate NY has several upstanding institutions, we have had our share of dangerous establishments posing as a Military Academy. The last one I knew of shut down approx 10 years ago after many complaints of physical abuse.

      Great job and I am voting up and sharing!

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments too, Joe! You really did go to some great schools! There is nothing quite as rewarding in life as an excellent education! Thanks so much for your great comment! :-)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Having attended Kamehameha Schools Preparatory Department (intermediate school) for a couple of years, I am well acquainted with the discipline, academic excellence, and uplifting character traits present at a private school where ROTC is an integral part of the curriculum. You presented us with an article that more than adequately covered different facets of a military school education as well as clarified any misconceptions. Thank you for this well researched and written hub, Kathy! Aloha!



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