High School ROTC Application & Marijuana Use


5-Year Member
Oct 20, 2016
I see questions about incidental high school marijuana use and its impact on the ROTC app. It's been covered in other posts as conjecture or "what if..." So, I had a story relayed to me recently and I thought it relevant to pass along an actual current incident. As a second part, I also promised I'd ask the people-in-the-know here a question about the story.
Part 1: For high school students or parents of high school students nervous about admitting trying a joint on the application, be honest. Here's why:
Two Years Ago: A current junior cadet fibbed and checked "no" on their initial paperwork about trying marijuana. The context for the fib was that it was sophomore year of high school; he didn't continue it; and his retired AF parent was adamant throughout high school that any experimenting was an automatic DQ.
Current: As a junior completing the security clearance app, the values of ROTC caught hold and the cadet decided to be honest and check "yes" on the app. The cadet is a Squadron Commander (over some seniors); came out of Field Training with a good report; etc. - overall, a strong cadet. Nonetheless, the revised answer caused: their scholarship was rescinded; prior tuition will be recouped; and, they may have to leave the school unless the school provides a financial aid package.
As explained to the cadet, the problem wasn't the joint, it's the discrepancy in answers.
Now, we could debate whether the cadet should have just stuck with the original answer (as was explored in a previous post), or even discuss the merit of an automatic HQ decision to get rid of a strong performing cadet after one strike, while keeping cadets like the "toxic" ones mentioned in a previous post.
However, my primary purpose was to relay to high school kids and their parents an actual story of what could happen with this question.
Part 2: This is a question I promised to ask the esteemed experts on this board who are currently involved in or associated with ROTC:
Are there any rights or options the cadet has to request a hearing with the detachment commander (apparently, they've only been speaking with their Captain), a possible waiver, etc. that the cadet should be aware of? - I said there probably aren't, but that I'd ask
As a comment about the merit of automatic DQ, I wanted to relate a college faculty story of mine that is similar. I had a student who plagiarized a report (only the name was changed - thank goodness for online plagiarism detectors that look at prior submitted assignments). The usual action is an automatic F for the class. However, as faculty, I chose to examine the context and applied a different punishment. In this case, the student was tops in class with her own actual work. In talking to her, I found out she was working two jobs to pay for school (I teach at a state college where most kids are middle class and paying some or all of their own way), along with a small school scholarship (which she would lose). She fessed up to more than usual job and other class conflicts that week and in a rash judgment used a friend's assignment. Also, on her own, she created her own report for me and it was actually very well done. I might get bombed here for my decision, but I didn't flunk her and instead gave her a poor passing grade for the term. This allowed her to keep her scholarship and maintain her studies. To me, she had learned her lesson and was genuinely upset for her actions. I also thought that the standard punishment would do more harm than good. But perhaps that's academia vs. the military (though my fellow faculty would have flunked her outright).
As a second final observation, I wonder if the parent's input (they retired about 10 years ago I think) was out of date? If so, it's probably good to get info that is current from people or parents still in the game, so to speak.
Hope this helps someone.
[thank goodness for online plagiarism detectors that look at prior submitted assignments]

Do tell!

I've never heard of such a thing.
There is an urban legend of a Professor who detected plagiarism when a student turned in a paper obtained from an online paper site that the Professor had written for the site to earn extra money.
[thank goodness for online plagiarism detectors that look at prior submitted assignments]

Do tell!

I've never heard of such a thing.
At the time our school used Blackboard as an online classroom and assignments were uploaded into Blackboard, which had a built in detector that would scan all submissions from prior terms. It makes a teacher's job easier. :)
DS went to a junior military college. The class ahead of him had 3 students that in one of their classes turned in final assignments that popped as plagiarized. By school policy they were kicked out just a week prior to commissioning. They did not commission and had to repay their scholarships. The ROTC dept. said there was nothing they could do, it was a school policy.