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Mr. Brown said middle school is when parents traditionally begin loosening the leash.

“Middle school is the bridge,” said Mr. Brown, a Democrat who supports publicly funded school vouchers.

A strong supporter of JROTC, he wants schools to encourage high schoolers to enroll in JROTC, especially wayward youths.

At his weekly briefing last week, the mayor said, “I happen to be a supporter of JROTC” because it instills “discipline, leadership and work ethic.”

He also shieds from promoting military careers, a personal prerogative.

But the mayor shouldn’t tout D.C. veterans and members of military as being shortchanged on voting rights with one hand, and fail to bolster JROTC programs with the other.

Better that potential bad, bad Leroy Browns be led by JROTC hands than turned over to hands of the criminal justice system. Neither the military nor the labor market wants a Leroy with a record.

The mayor said he supports JROTC, where he served as a major when he attended Dunbar High School, and that the “structure and discipline” benefits some people “mightily.”

Indeed, JROTC might not help future leaders avoid “missteps,” but at the very least it will point them in the right direction.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at