First high school devoted to homeland security

Chris Colin, who wrote this short article Mother Jones, says: "Extremely quietly, a Maryland school district has launched the first public high school in the country dedicated to teaching homeland security.

"From all I could tell researching the piece, this doesn't mean questioning assumptions about national security and so forth -- it means funneling 15-year-olds into a very profitable industry, and providing future workers for the companies that comprise it. Creepy/lousy."

Students will choose one of three specialized tracks: information and communication technology, criminal justice and law enforcement, or "homeland security science." David Volrath, executive director of secondary education for Harford County Public Schools, says the school also hopes to offer "Arabic or some other nontraditional, Third World-type language."

The school's main goal is to get its grads jobs in the booming $24-billion-a-year homeland security industry. It's certainly in the right location: Northeast Maryland has become a mecca for the military-industrial complex. The Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground is the county's biggest employer, and all manner of defense contractors have set up shop nearby, including weapons maker Northrop Grumman.



  1. my god…they’re finally upfront about it. Fascist neocon training and thought control–the making of moronic Nazis, coming soon to a high school near YOU.

  2. Did he really say “Third World-type language” or are you having us on here?

    Mind, I have some really nice Beach Front-type property I’d like to sell you.

  3. HMS High, where the Jocks learn takedown and taser techniques, and the nerds design telescreens and death rays.

  4. I live in Aberdeen, and go to another special school in the Harford County Public Schools system, the Science and Math Academy. Another specialized high school is scheduled to open in North Harford, an agricultural school. So it’s not like kids have a choice of becoming a homeland security crony or going to an overcrowded regular school. I had REALLY hoped that if my hometown ever got on boingboing it WOULDN’T be for a fascist mind control school, oh well. They must have been quiet, this is the first I’ve heard of this school.

  5. @CantStopTheSignal:

    The problem isn’t that people want bad security (who does?), but rather that a new security program is being created to supplant the existing one, and that has several problems in itself.

    For starters, this is a PUBLIC SCHOOL, not a private one. Private schools can do all they want with their curriculum, but I think public schools should provide a well-rounded, neutral education the best that they can. You could argue that counties or states decide what gets taught in the classroom, but this is obviously a Federal venture. Things like these tell me that we’re not going to see the end of the War on Terror with the next president.

    Second, what’s wrong with the existing security infrastructure? If you answered “a lot of things” then maybe we should instead dedicate time and effort to fix them rather than to making new things. If they aren’t broken, then why fix them in the first place? In other words, why shouldn’t we have the best students working for defense after they have gone through college or the military? Suddenly, I’m getting a sense of urgency in terms of what the Administration wants.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to paint critics of this idea as hypocrites or whatnot. I just think there could be a better approach.

  6. While I don’t like the idea of a high school whose primary purpose appears not to be actually educating students, I have to applaud them on choosing to teach Arabic. There just aren’t enough Arabic speakers in the USA. Apparently there is a grand total of 33 agents in the FBI with “even a limited proficiency in Arabic”, out of about 12,000. (By contrast about 900 know Spanish, though admittedly that’s a more useful language in general internal affairs.)

    Of course, characterising any language as a “Third World-type language” strikes me as incredibly chauvinistic, considering what it implies about the “inferiority” of said language, and especially its role in the country’s economics. (“You can’t expect to eliminate poverty unless you eliminate these backward languages too!” ugh.)

  7. Actually Nick, I’m kind of left wondering why cantstopthesignal’s post got deleted (the one I replied to). So maybe it was a bit long-winded, but it wasn’t a “first post!” either.

    In the last post, s/he didn’t exactly troll although s/he was a bit emotional about the censorship but at the same time I don’t want to jump to conclusions, either.

    mods: what’s the deal?

  8. [Boring moderation notice: Sorry about the holes that just appeared in this conversation. The commenter who posted here as “CantStopTheSignal” is actually another user who’s been temporarily suspended for misbehavior in another thread. CantStopTheSignal’s comments, here and elsewhere, have been unpublished because he’s the sockpuppet of a suspended user. For the record, this had nothing to do with the content of his comments. -tnh]

  9. Mod: But why delete his comments in the first place? I can understand suspending his account, but erasing what he said is like Stalin erasing people he didn’t like from pictures- totalitarian. Considering what BoingBoing says it’s about, I’m confused, to say the least.

  10. The censor also deleted my comment, in which I expressed support for the dissenter.

    I am not CANTSTOPTHESIGNAL, and I do not believe the censor’s story. (It’s awfully convenient that the accused isn’t here to defend himself.)


    I just want to say that I support CANTSTOPTHESIGNAL, whatever he says. We all deserve an explanation for why his post was deleted (and, I assume, his IP banned).

    On the content of the post:

    You do realize nations need law enforcement, don’t you? And don’t you think federal agents should be well-trained?

    If this were a school for future surgeons, you wouldn’t say, “Oh, there they go, training more Frankensteins!” No, you’d be thankful for the existence of such a school, because you see the need for skilled surgeons.

    I don’t understand why you don’t see the need for skilled law enforcement.

    1. Poweroid, apologies if your previous version disappeared. I double-checked the list of posts to make sure I wasn’t unpublishing anything by other users, but I must have missed yours.

      You may not be CantStopTheSignal, which after all is just a registered username; but if you turn out to be the same commenter (as has proved to be the case with a number of registered names), I shall … well, actually, I’ll pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh.

  11. J B Lavin (12): No, it’s not just like Stalin. The fellow in question is still alive, and so are his family and friends. He has not had to denounce anyone, undergo show trials, or get shipped off to a Gulag.

    The purpose of this forum is to let the readers of Boing Boing and BB Gadgets have conversations stemming from the entries. Boing Boing’s editors have a long history of supporting freedom of expression. That doesn’t mean they have to give infinite space and infinite tolerance on their own site to all comers. (If that’s what you’re looking for, try Live Journal.) Setting limits on behavior on their own site doesn’t make them hypocrites, the same way that a lifelong advocate of decent and affordable housing isn’t a hypocrite if he declines to give crash space in perpetuity to some ill-behaved stranger who shows up at his door.

    Why were that reader’s comments removed? Because he was temporarily suspended for misbehavior elsewhere in this forum, and he responded by turning up as several sockpuppets. A suspension is a suspension. It isn’t an invitation to change one’s user name for a couple of weeks.

  12. User bans are typically done to stop vandalism. I’ve never heard of a vandal who sneaks back in and posts good debate material, only to have that deleted too, especially after people have replied to it and started a discussion with it!

  13. Mod: In regards to Stalin, I was using a metaphor in which the idea of people are used to express the idea of words.

    I don’t want to debate, and I understand that you have to get rid of the “m4h bukk1t” posts, but still, it seems that BoingBoing isn’t practicing what it preaches when it comes to their site. In short, I don’t come here for Cory, Xeni, Mark or David. I come for the ideas they put up. When those ideas aren’t consistent with their actions (I’m assuming you’re just following orders) then they look like hypocrites.

    Anyway, it seems rather harsh and draconian that account suspension includes total content removal, especially on BoingBoing. Can we know how cantstopthesignal was misbehaving?

  14. JB Lavin (19): I’m sorry you couldn’t follow my earlier messages. To save time, please re-read them.

    There is nothing even slightly hypocritical about the Boingers espousing freedom of speech, but having moderation in their comment threads. That’s in the earlier messages too.

    CantStopTheMessage’s comments weren’t unpublished because he was misbehaving. They were unpublished because he was a sockpuppet. So were FreeTibet, JHudson, Mr. Universe, and TruthFriction (not a complete list). The self-centered blowhard who inflicted them on the Boing Boing comment threads is the one who owes everyone an apology for lying to them, and for posting comments he knew in advance would be deleted when his impostures were detected.

    If you think these penalties are “harsh and draconian,” heaven help you if you ever get ticketed for jaywalking. But just to clarify matters: suspension doesn’t include total removal of one’s comments. Coming back to post under a forged identity means that when you’re detected, the comments you’ve posted while suspended will be removed. You don’t get rewarded for circumventing a suspension.

    All this and more was explained in email, more than once, to CantStopTheSignal and the rest of the sockpuppets. This guy is one slow learner.

  15. No one who attends this high school will being forced to take these classes. All this will do is add extra curriculum and programs to the school.

    To #9, if you really go to Aberdeen, you would know better that to state that the kids don’t have a choice. Kids from all over the county apply to be accepted into the science and math academy at that school. They take more focused classes, along with their normal classes like english, gym, etc. The homeland security program will probably work the same way. From their website:

    “In the fall of 2007, a select group of Joppatowne High School sophomores will enter the first course in this program.”

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