A Maryland high school has started the nation’s first comprehensive homeland security program, a three-year course to help kids land jobs in the anti-terrorism industry, reports USA Today. The program, started at Maryland’s Joppatowne High School with 61 sophomores, provides “an opportunity for kids to see relevance to being in school,” says Frank Mezzanotte of the Harford (Md.) County Public Schools.
Students have toured a Coast Guard command center, visited a county detection center, practiced emergency response in a fictional town and heard an Iraqi-born speaker explain cultural differences between Americans and Middle Easterners. Other school districts are taking notice. Mezzanotte says he’s been contacted by individual schools and education departments in more than a half-dozen states. Some question whether the program will teach students to be open-minded about national security, given its goal of getting kids jobs with defense and homeland security contractors and the military. Mother Jones magazine called Joppatowne “the academy of military-industrial-complex studies.”