Anti-JROTC student receives threats
by Heather Cassell
Mara Kubrin, the student who was pictured in the Bay Area Reporter delivering a petition signed by more than 800 students in support of phasing out the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program and told the Board of Education that many students were afraid to attend the meeting on November 14, began receiving e-mail threats directly to her private MySpace account three days later.
The board voted 4-2 earlier this month to phase out the JROTC program in part because of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits gays from serving openly.
Reportedly, students allegedly hacked into Kubrin's account posting her personal information on a bulletin board on the Web with photos and a disclaimer "by viewing thisÉ[you agree] to release said author from all damages resulting from É any physical or mental damages resulting from violence as a result of this bulletin," according to Marc Norton, Kubrin's mother's partner, and her father David Kubrin. The bulletin also provided an easy link to post the information on other bulletin boards. Mara Kubrin reported the incident to the police, but after three follow-up phone calls to police the family hasn't received any information regarding the progress of the investigation into the alleged threats, David Kubrin told the B.A.R. Police didn't respond to a call from the B.A.R. seeking comment.
Mara Kubrin brought the threats to the attention of Doug Bullard, the JROTC instructor at Lowell High School. "Mara came to me at the end of last week and showed me something that she had downloaded from her Web site," Bullard said, but admitted that he hadn't alerted Amy Hanson, principal of Lowell, nor had he informed Robert Powell, director of Army instruction for the San Francisco Unified School District, as of Monday, November 27.
"I wasn't sure it was a threat É I was trying to find out where it came from and who might have sent something like that and I had asked students in my program about it and none of them know anything about it," said Bullard, who said he assumed Mara Kubrin had taken it to school administrators.
When the B.A.R. asked Powell about the situation he was surprised and stated that he would be shocked if any of the JROTC students were involved. He repeatedly denied that JROTC instructors could take any disciplinary actions to reprimand the students even within the program.
"We would inform the principal, just like any other disciplinary action that occurs in high school. We don't have any authority to discipline any kid other than the high school rules and regulations," Powell said.
Mark Sanchez, a commissioner on the school board who voted in favor of phasing out the JROTC program, also received a threatening e-mail that was forwarded to him by Commissioner Eric Mar. The e-mail message was forwarded to the board's legal counsel. Sanchez mentioned that incoming board member Jane Kim also received a harassing e-mail, but she was unavailable for comment at press time.
Commissioner Dan Kelly, who voted to phase out JROTC and will be ending his 16-year tenure on the board in January, said about the incident, "I think that's very sad É the adults need to put the disappointment into perspective for the kids and not in É a platform for their own anger, their own resentment, and that's hard to do. É It's important for us adults to say when a decision has been made, 'OK, we disagreed with the decision, but now it's time to move on.'"
It is unknown if any other students have been harassed or received threats. Mara Kubrin was unavailable for comment.