Girls in Military Schools

American girls traditionally were not allowed in military school programs because they were not allowed to serve in the Armed Services. Instead, women played auxiliary roles in every American war from the Civil War until World War II, sometimes at home as workers in munitions factories and sometimes near the war front as nurses, journalists, entertainers, spies, and so forth.

During World War II, more than 150,000 women joined the newly created "Women's Auxiliary Army Corps" (WAACS) and "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service" (WAVES), which was affiliated with the U.S. Navy. Again, women mostly played auxiliary roles and did not receive the same benefits as men, such as overseas pay and medical coverage.

The 1948 Women's Armed Services Integration Act permitted women to serve in the regular army and the Organized Reserve Corps, rather than solely in special female branches of the army. Once the draft ended in 1973, women's roles in the Armed Services expanded even further. Women began to enlist in all the Armed Services and enroll in the service academies, such as West Point and the Air Force Academy. By 2004, there were over 212,000 active duty women in the military, of which 35,100 were officers. However, even today, women cannot serve in combat.

American military schools accepted boys-only until the late 1970s. Many became co-ed, but usually maintained separate dormitories, sports programs, and other facilities for girls. These are serious programs for young women who want military careers.

There are only a few all-girls' military schools and "boot camp" programs. Often, the academic component of these schools is not very impressive. For example, students may take their courses through a correspondence school. A girl's day may have a strict structure of early rising, constant marching and saluting, inspections of her uniform and dorm room, and endless rules and punishments. The school probably will not have a psychologist or counselor on staff to address a girl's emotional needs or need for substance abuse treatment and education.

Most girls' boot camps are short-term and last only a month or two, although some girls remain longer. These boot camps advertise themselves as places that "turn around" troubled girls, but the emphasis is not on psychological interventions. Instead, strict and blind adherence to a military-style regime is required.

The premise is that a military lifestyle will somehow teach girls to be respectful of authority and to obey their parents. Currently, no outcome-based studies can prove these military programs produce the desired results. What usually happens is that once the girl leaves the structure of the program, she becomes lost and unable to handle her freedom at home - so she returns to her old lifestyle. She makes no real progress or meaningful long-term change. For long-lasting results and healing, parents should consider therapeutic boarding schools or wilderness programs as a healthy alternative to military schools or boot camps.

Fast Facts About Adolescents

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Military Schools for Girls

Copper Canyon Academy
Copper Canyon Academy, an all girls boarding school, offers an extremely comprehensive therapeutic program for troubled teenage girls. Girls and their families have the opportunity to participate in several forms of therapy while attending an accreditated school. Girls at Copper Canyon Academy learn to confront the past and look forward to the future by following a very proven "Trail to Success". This "Trail to Success" leads each student to develop self-esteem, self-awareness, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-management. Learn more about Copper Canyon Academy by calling toll free 866.858.4883 .