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ARMY BANNED IN BOSTON

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 31, 2006 11:02 AM

***update: the school backs down! Michael Graham reports: “As I’m about to report exclusively on my show in 20 minutes, King Philip High has backed down under pressure from angry supporters of the US military. They’re going to allow representatives of West Point and the ROTC at graduation on Sunday (not tonight’s awards event, alas) to make their presentations.

Hooo-ah!”***

Update II: More from the Boston Herald.

Last night, O’Reilly and I briefly discussed San Francisco’s campaign to kick the Junior ROTC off of public high school campuses, where 1,600 students are JROTC members.

Now, the madness moves to the Boston area. A high school principal is barring the Army from attending a scholarship banquest featuring two seniors headed to West Point:

Two local high school students have earned scholarships to West Point, but when it comes to awards night at their school the military is not invited.

Some said it’s a big disservice to those who are ready to serve their country.

Newscenter Five’s Sean Kelly reported that the principal of King Phillip Regional High School in Wrentham, Mass., told the U.S. Army it would not be welcome at a scholarship banquet that will be held to honor two graduates who have received scholarships to West Point Military Academy.

The town has many memorials to military who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country, but some say that kind of patriotism and respect is not reflected at the high school.

“I was disappointed because I thought everyone should really be educated on what West Point is about and how we’re going to serve our country,” student Jeff Chin said.

“It is a little bit of a disappointment to not have this kind of a special thing for Jeff and I not go on because we’ve been expecting it,” Will Small said.

It is a West Point tradition to have Army officers representing the elite military school award incoming students their scholarships at their own high school banquets. But King Phillip has its own rules that bar such participation.

“I think they are being a little protective. I think they think if they let West Point or Annapolis in, then there will be recruiters that come next and they’ll be trying to persuade these kids to join the military,” Will’s father, Alan, said.

More from the Boston Herald:

A Wrentham high school’s refusal to allow West Point officials to congratulate two student appointees at a school banquet has sparked outrage among parents and politicians who are calling the decision “shameful” and “sad.”

“I’m upset by it and I’m still puzzled as to why the principal decided to do what she did,” said U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-3rd. “It seems like someone has made a decision and they’re going to stick to it, whether it makes sense or not.”

The decision means King Philip High School students Jeffrey Chin of Plainville and William Small of Norfolk will not receive official recognition at tomorrow’s banquet for years of grinding work required to earn acceptance to highly prestigious West Point.

It’s shameful they’re taking this position with a U.S. military academy,” said William’s proud father, Alan Small. “I think as educators they have done a good job, but I disagree with this.”

The school has really blown it:

Pam Chin said the most important thing to her at this point is that the awards night not be ruined for the other graduating seniors.

“ I don’t want it to become a crazed media event,” she said. “ This can’t effect the other kids.”

She and others said they are confused by the refusal of school officials.

“ The more I hear about it, the less I understand it,” she said.

Chin said school officials told her only local officials are allowed to present awards and scholarships at the event.

Alan Small, father of Will Small, said he was told that if the school allowed West Point to present, it would have to open the ceremony to all colleges and universities that give scholarships to King Philip students.

Small said his position is that a West Point appointment is different from a college scholarship and school officials should recognize that.

“ I think it’s kind of a smoke screen for some anti-military position,” he said.

(Hat tip: Michael Graham and several Boston-area readers.)

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