Myths of Military Schools for Teens

If you are a parent struggling with a teenager that is using drugs, drinking, vaping, extremely defiant, has issues with depression and anxiety, sneaking out and other common risky behaviors — Military Schools are not your answer.


5 Myths of Military School:



1. They are retirement outposts for retired officers.

Hollywood loves to portray military schools as retirement outposts for disgruntled officers with enormous grudges against just about everything and egos to match. (Think Taps with Timothy Hutton and George C. Scott.) The truth is that most military schools have a headmaster who is styled a commandant or superintendent according to military nomenclature.


Becoming an administrator in a military school is a perfectly logical next career step for an officer who has retired from active service usually in his ’40’s or ’50’s. Their egos? Most of them are pretty average. Their job is to run the school, hire the best faculty they can find, and manage the finances. That’s what any headmaster does.


2. All Military schools teach military stuff.


The truth is that military schools are simply private schools with a particular emphasis. They are no more off the beaten educational path than, say, Christian or Muslim schools are. Put another way, they combine academics with military training. Most parents expect their son or daughter to graduate from a private school and matriculate to college.


So, whether you send your son or daughter to a military school or a prep school for high school, the objective is the same. Only the enrichment focus of the schools will be different. Instead of having 10 hours a week of religious education as you’d find in a parochial school, you will have 10 hours of military history and related subjects.


3. Military school graduates only go into military service.


Some do. Some don’t. Many students and their parents see a military high school as a logical first step down the path to military service at some point. But it is just that: the first step. Going to college is the second step. Military service is the third step.


Military schools can help your child develop good habits of discipline and structure. Just about anything worth doing well requires lots of discipline. Discipline takes hard work, persistence, stamina, and time. Children need to learn how to work hard, be persistent, develop stamina and patience. A military school education can help provide the structure to accomplish those aims.


4. Military schools are for students who are troubled.


Military schools are most definitely not alternative schools. Alternative schools are specialized schools catering to children with emotional and other difficulties. Their programs focus on remediation for the most part.


Military schools on the other hand provide a military-style structure to everyday life combined with comprehensive academic, athletic and extracurricular programs. Many parents and students find that appealing and therefore choose to attend a military school.


5. Going to a military school guarantees you a place in one of the service academies.


Going to a military school and doing extraordinarily well in every aspect of your life and work there will help. But the key to getting into one of the service academies is getting nominated by your congressman in addition to meeting the academy’s admission requirements.


Many military schools offer JROTC or Junior Regular Officer Training Corps. This is a Federal program sponsored by the United States Army. The Army cannot recruit high school students. So it uses the JROTC program to expose young people to the possibilities and potential of military service with the hope that some of them might choose to become part of the armed forces in later life.

Read: Where to Send My Troubled Teenager?

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Please contact us for more information on alternatives to military schools such as residential treatment and therapeutic boarding schools.