Military Training Will Become A Freshman Course
The Christian liberal arts college, College of the Ozarks, is taking a different approach to the kneeling controversy in athletics.
The first is a new rule called “no pledge, no play.” This means the school’s athletic teams will refuse to compete against any team where players or coaches kneel during the pledge of allegiance. Secondly, the school will now require students to take a course titled called “Patriotic Education and Fitness.” This course will be a hybrid of physical education, civics, and history. Students will have traditional military training like rope climbing and rifle marksmanship. It will also cover military traditions and flag protocol.
The president of the college has stated the course is to better familiarize students with the American military, which is a core element of being an American citizen. “Patriotic education is not inherited. It must be taught, it must be modeled and it must be emphasized.”
While this course is unusual for a non-military college, the school itself is a sort of anomaly. “Hard Work U” does not ask its students for tuition. Instead, it requires the entire student population to work at on-campus jobs to learn responsibility and gain on the job training. The school is also a very conservative religious college, with strict rules about conduct, dress, and hygiene, to name a few. These rules have been controversial, especially since a student who expresses their gender identity or sexual orientation can be expelled from the school.
Some critics have argued this is a promotion of “Christian Nationalism” a doctrine that combines conservative religious and politic beliefs into an activist approach toward promoting Christian values into the American political landscape. Others would argue criticizing athletic protests misses the point of the freedom of speech, which is enshrined in the Constitution, the document the U.S. military swears to uphold.
The program has been successfully done as a pilot program for two semesters and will be officially instated for the fall semester of next year.