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ROTC Students Targeted at Homecoming Parade

Members of the program feel disrespected after incident at West's annual event

Cadets+standing+at+attention+at+the+2015+homecoming+game
Cadets standing at attention at the 2015 homecoming game

Cadets standing at attention at the 2015 homecoming game

Mikaela Kelly-Price

Mikaela Kelly-Price

Cadets standing at attention at the 2015 homecoming game

Sylvia Bryan and Sami Jansen

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West’s homecoming parade is usually a joyful tradition, marked by school spirit and general excitement. But on October 6, it was marred by the wrong sort of excitement for one student organization.

ROTC students were surprised when unidentified bystanders threw rocks at their platoon.

Rocks were not the only things thrown their way; the students were also targeted with raised middle fingers and insults. According to Chief Cadet Arianna Hilger and Cadet Lieutenant Commander Cole Manthe, the latter is nothing new.

“ROTC nazis, it’s been an ongoing name called for a long time. It’s not very common anymore, but stuff that’s happening now isn’t new,” Hilger said.

Hilger was not personally hit, although Manthe was.

“I was commanding the main part of the platoon, and I got hit by […] a decent sized rock where I could feel it. It wasn’t too big of a deal, my knee swelled a little bit but the ice brought the swelling down,” Manthe said.

Manthe was not the only one; other cadets were also injured.

“Others in the platoon got three to five little complaints about being hit. One cadet got hit three times and other cadet was hit in the back of the knee, and it bruised pretty bad,” Manthe said.

ROTC procedure stipulates that cadets may not look to the side while marching, so they could only see the people throwing things in their peripheral vision. This prevented the cadets from being able to directly identify them.Neither Hilger nor Manthe saw exactly who hit the cadets, and only knew general demographic details.

“We know that when we march we look straight forward. So we don’t know,” Hilger said.

Although the cadets were dismayed by the incident, they weren’t exactly surprised. They have felt like outcasts in the student body long before yesterday.

“We have been hazed and pushed out of the student body pretty hard,” Manthe said.

Even right before the parade, Hilger overheard insults.

“Some kid walked by when we were setting up from the parade and laughed and said, ‘School shooters club, look at them all,’” Hilger said.

It’s currently undetermined if ROTC will march in the parade again next year, but after further consideration they will make a decision.

“We would call Pensacola, which is mangagement for us, and they tell us what to do. But from the sound of it we probably won’t,” Hilger said.

However, because of the unique situation they are still unsure how to proceed.

There’s nowhere in the manual that says ‘When students throw things at you in a parade the following year you don’t march.”

— Arianna Hilger

“There’s nowhere in the manual that says ‘When students throw things at you in a parade the following year you don’t march,’” Hilger said.

Regardless, the cadets still take pride in the organization, as well as their involvement in it.

“Everyday when we look at ourselves in the mirror and put the uniforms on, that’s not what we see. We don’t see that we joined a shooting club; we don’t see that we joined a cult. We take a pride in putting our uniforms on every day like cheerleaders and football players do. And people when they play their instruments, they take pride in knowing how to play an instrument, they take pride in what they do. So it’s really awful, and it’s really hurtful when people are being so derogatory. It’s something that we thought was prideful,” Hilger said.

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9 Comments

9 Responses to “ROTC Students Targeted at Homecoming Parade”

  1. Kay Simmons on October 11th, 2016 10:43 pm

    There’s absolutely no excuse for such hateful behavior. It’s bad enough to throw insults and the finger at these students. But ROCKS???

    The people who did that are bullies. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Of course, they aren’t. Of course the rest of us know what they are…despicable. Utterly and completely despicable.

    [Reply]

    Tammy Barrett Reply:

    Amen!! Our society has become used to protecting the criminals and praising them and insulting and name calling the patriots. Time for our country to realize what once was a God fearing country we live it is now full of haters, murders and thieves.
    What if that rock put out an eye?!!! Or worse, killed the student?!!! Where was the protection?!!! The people doing this should be fined and banned from going to anymore games. If they don’t come down hard on this, it will only get worse. Bullys!

    [Reply]

    Alison DiLaurentis Reply:

    Okay,

    But TBH, I feel like if this was a case of a gay student getting hit with rocks you wouldn’t even call them bullies because it’s against the bible.

    Also theres a seperation of church and state hunty.

    [Reply]

    Spencer Wright Reply:

    Also I am a strong christian and read the Bible every day. I don’t think that you should be saying that kind of stuff about the Bible because clearly, if you have ever read the Bible you would know that it says to love one another (John 15:12). Also if you have ever read the Bible you would remember the story of when the adulterous woman was brought in before Christ and the Pharisees wanted her to be stoned. Christ said, “He who is sinless cast the first stone”. Then he said to the woman, “Go and sin no more”. So I don’t believe someone should be killed unless they have committed a crime like murder (I don’t know what degree though). So if a gay person was getting rocks chucked him/her I would try and protect him/her just like I would do to any other good person.

    Spencer Wright Reply:

    They are not just bullies- people who do this kind of stuff are the people that are going to grow up and become terrrorists

    [Reply]

  2. Michelle Staley on October 12th, 2016 2:29 pm

    I take it from the article that no one saw the people doing the rock throwing? Really?

    My oldest was in ROTC back in the 90s and found it to be an invaluable experience. To hear that the group may not participate in future homecoming events….. because of some bullies, is disheartening.

    A better option, instead of caving to bullies, would be to have staff walking present to monitor the peanut gallery.

    [Reply]

  3. Nicole Perkins on October 12th, 2016 2:33 pm

    When I graduated in 2003 from SMWest. It was the ROTC program that made me capable of doing such a thing because when I chose to be apart of that organization it changed me for life. Where is the protection we offer our athletic department from crowd hazing at such events. For years now I have gone to fallen heroes services and stood along the procession to help guard our fallen heroes I would love to see a line guarding our ROTC students. Why is that these children because they are still children are getting hated on and nothing is being done I say let us take a stand against those hatred cold hearted students and protect our own. If my son was at this school and was involved in this I as a parent would be standing between my child and those ugly hearted kids who clearly have no respect for themselves or others or even their school. TIME TO TAKE A STAND PARENTS

    [Reply]

  4. Michelle S. on October 18th, 2016 1:35 pm

    I want to point out, my daughter is in NJROTC and she was one of the many students hit by the rocks. She did not see who threw the rocks, as they are not allowed to turn and look at bystanders. However, on a good note, those who did throw the rocks were disciplined. I was told by an associate principal at the school that I can legally press charges against these students. The words used and rock throwing are both verbal and physical assault. These cadets stand in uniform, take pride in what they are doing, and have or will have a great purpose in life, whereas those who assaulted these great students seem to only have one purpose in life, belittle and attack those who they deem to be above them. I chose not to say her name as she has been dealing with bullies daily at this school, not just because she is in NJROTC, but for some unknown reason. Of course, being in the NJROTC program isn’t helping much, however, she has kept her spirits high and is always moving forward and focusing on her education as she has big plans for her future.

    [Reply]

  5. Spencer Wright on December 20th, 2016 7:39 am

    This incident shows all the anti American attitudes in this country. All the ungrateful people that are making this country suck. This country is the best country ever! I am so thankful for the military men and women that served this country. I am also grateful for all the pioneer men and women that settled this country. They had a lot of grit. America is great but people like that and people that create hate are making it suck. Christianity is dyeing and so is this country.

    [Reply]

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ROTC Students Targeted at Homecoming Parade