Category Archives: Counter Recruitment

Parent Teacher Conference Night – March 7, 2019

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March 7th was a freezing evening, but it did not stop volunteers from going to high schools on Parent Teacher Conference night. We were at 14 high schools throughout NYC prepared to provide families with non-military informational flyers. One addresses Options for Life After High School and the second focuses on Questions to Ask/ Points to Consider in connection with military recruitment outreach in high schools. As parents enter the building anxious to speak with their child’s teacher, they are presented with this information and perhaps a brief comment.
*One girl read the leaflet and told her buddy, “Good information here.”
*The parents are so grateful for the handouts. One mother said, “Nobody ever helps us with these things. Thank you so much.” With tears in her eyes.
*A teacher’s remarks: Responding that she was a teacher not a parent was interested in knowing what was being distributed. She was pleased to take the leaflets as she is a counselor and supervises a student study group related to post-high school matters.
A rewarding experience for volunteers as well as for parents and students who gladly accept the flyers and acknowledge the information.

Students not Soldiers,
Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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Parent-Teacher High School Conference Night–NYC November 2018

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On Parent-Teacher Conference night parents have the opportunity to meet with their child’s teacher to discuss her his progress in the class. It is also an opportunity for volunteers to distribute educational informational flyers to parents. The informational flyers address Options for Life After HS as well as Questions to Ask Military Recruiters. In spite of the cold & wind that evening, volunteers were at 12 high schools throughout the 5 boroughs and distributed approximately 2,400 flyers.

Parents appreciated the information provided on each flyer. A thank you, a nod of acceptance, or question might be asked to the volunteers.

  • A volunteer reports that several parents said ‘awesome’ when told what information the flyer was offering & the value of the information.
  • Another volunteer noted that parents appeared glad to receive the information even those whose child was wearing JROTC uniform.
  • One team notes that it was simply a great night for us – freezing cold and grateful kids.

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To learn more about the action and to download the flyers go to our Counter Recruitment page. Scroll down to P-T night info and you can print a copy of the flyers. We will be back at the high schools in April for Spring Parent-Teacher Conference night, and hope you will join us then.

Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Parent Teacher Conference Night Action – March 8, 2018

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March 8 was Parent-Teacher Conference night at NYC high schools when parents meet with their children’s teachers. Volunteers from the Granny Peace Brigade and anti-military friends were outside high schools to greet parents and hand them two flyers. This action is part of the Granny Peace Brigade’s demilitarization of youth in public high schools campaign.

Our flyers provide information about non-military options for life after HS and also suggest questions to ask recruiters who are promoting enlistment. It’s our mission to provide information and resources to counter the military recruitment hype.

  1. Options for Life after High School gives families a helping hand to survey many websites and resources for job skills training, scholarships, financial aid, community outreach, volunteer programs. Download: Non-Military Options for Life After High School
  2. Questions to Ask – Points to Consider providing information on military recruitment practices and promises and offers questions to ask and responses to expect in order to inform families and the student of misleading or unclear information. Download: Questions to Ask – Points to Consider Before Enlisting

Parents are friendly and thank us for this information. As a volunteer notes: This is an important one-on-one interaction, and very possibly gives a would-be recruit pause to consider alternatives to the military. School staff members are interested as well. At several schools, a teacher or guidance counselor took several copies of the flyers to share inside the school.

This action shows how many parents want to end war and provide better educational opportunities for their children.

Parent/teacher conference night occurs twice a year. If you are interested in volunteering for our next action, please contact us.

Students not Soldiers!
Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

JROTC, Discipline and Children Playing Soldier

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Is it good for to children dress up like soldiers and march around with mock rifles? Should they be doing this in our schools?

We say no, but some say yes.

Wednesday, January 31 – Seven of us were outside New York City Council offices asking Council Members to stop allotting 1.5 million of our tax dollars each year to the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) programs in NYC schools. We want City Council to move the money to programs that help students develop into strong, creative, resourceful adults.

Two career military men stopped to talk. The first thanked us for being there saying we were doing a good thing. The second military man who had worked as a recruiter and also with JROTC was angry. He said the JROTC program was good for kids because it gave them discipline. He talked about discipline a lot. We’ve heard that defense of JROTC from many other people who are passionate and sincere.

I want kids to have discipline too. But it should come from inside them like in Marie Curie or Rosa Parks or Laura Poitras or these gals in yellow.

– Eva-Lee Baird with Barbara H, Eleanor, Joan, Nancy, Nydia, Pat
for the Granny Peace Brigade

STUDENTS NOT SOLDIERS – Grannies Hit the Streets

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Last month, the Granny Peace Brigade walked up 5th Avenue with Vets for Peace in the Veterans Day commemorations. As usual, we were virtually at the end, followed by high schoolers, both boys and girls, proudly marching in proper soldier form, from various J-ROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training) groups In the city. Teens marching as soldiers, sometimes with mock rifles, is not our vision for these children.
And so we were at City Hall once again on 30 November, a day all city councilors would be present, to continue our campaign to get the military out of our schools.

$1.5 million of NYC taxpayer money is spent on J-ROTC. The balance funded by the Defense Department. Our vision for these young students is a well-rounded education. Too many of our high schools no longer have sports, music, art, vocational-skills classes, all of which also teach discipline, team-work, communicating and other skills.

Join us on 7 December at City Hall, first on the streets at 12 noon and then to a session of the City Council Education Committee.

STUDENTS NOT SOLDIERS

Marty Rajandran with Ann, Barbara H., Eva-Lee, Joan, Regina, Nydia and Phyllis
Parade photos: Bud Korotzer
City Hall Photos: Eva-Lee Baird

Students not Soldiers – Parent Teacher Conference Night Action 11-09-2017

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Volunteer activists and parents attending Parent Teacher Conference night met briefly in front of 12 NYC public high schools. Parents were at the school for a scheduled conference with their child’s teacher, and volunteers were distributing 2 flyers providing anti-military educational information. Parents accepted the flyers with much appreciation.

Questions to Ask – Points to Consider Before Enlisting offers questions to be asked military recruiters as well as responses to the information and ‘promises’ made to students. This helps families and youth better understand the recruiting jargon and to not accept misleading information. Leave our kids alone.
The Non-Military Options for Life After High School flyer gives families a helping hand to survey many college websites, resources for job skills training, technical and trade programs, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities. Parents appreciated receiving this flyer.
It became obvious that parents do not want their children to enlist. Many expressed an anti-war message. This is an action where you realize how many want to end war and provide a non-military educational experiences for their children during their years in high school.

At John F Kennedy, Jr. High School a male volunteer had the opportunity to talk for several minutes with a group of five male teenagers. One of these young men was considering a military career, but decided to think about it more deeply after he told him, “Trump wants you.” He also asked them, “Do you want to fight their wars?” Rod gave them a role model.
A mother offered a sign of relief. I’ll look at the Options websites with my child. I wanted info about City College financial aid. We were confused, and I haven’t received any assistance from the guidance counselor.
A volunteer chatted with one teacher who was interested in our materials, took 4 copies and promised to distribute them to her students – it doesn’t get better than that.

Volunteers receive gratitude from parents for the information. All who volunteered, although they had little time for conversation with parents, made a difference. It is appreciated when someone cares about their child’s future, is willing to stand in front of the High School, and generously reaches out with educational information and advice they rarely receive.

Thanks to the volunteers for their commitment to this action – to provide families with non-military educational information and options. We will be back at the high schools March, 2018. Keep posted – perhaps you will join us at that time.

Students not Soldiers!

Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

An update on GPB JROTC campaign activities

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Dear Friends,

A meeting last week with NYC Council-member Barron went very well. We met for about 1 1/2 hours.
Also in attendance: CM Barron’s Legislative Aide, Jan Atwell, CM Dromm’s Legislative Aide, Betty Davis, from CM Barron’s district.

CM Barron was a HS Principal for 20 years. She was not aware of the details of the program and most disturbed by:

1/ military recruiters lack of teaching certification, a non-certified person teaching during school class hours should have a certified NYC teacher in the room during the lesson. ( I didn’t know this)
2/ no oversight of the curriculum
3/rifles in the classroom, during drills, etc.
She, personally, was going to bring these issues to the attention of Chancellor Farina and demand response and explanations. She’ll get back to me by the end of November.

Jan & Betty added so much to the meeting from their political and educational experiences and knowledge. Betty Davis was amazing – on top of the issue and outspoken. She was an assistant principal in a high school for many years.
Jan is a strong supporter of our campaign and presented CM Dromm’ concerns very clearly and decisively.

Many questions were posed and I had lots of info and ‘most’ of the answers for them. It was very congenial and positive.

It was suggested that I speak at a CPAC meeting (Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council – www.cpacnyc.com). They meet for one day usually during the first week of the month. It was suggested that I have a Vet join me to speak about the issue as well. We’ll only get 1 chance to present our concerns and reasons for reallocating the funding.

If you have any ideas about a Vet you know who might be interested in speaking to this parent group? We know there are Vets that go into classrooms to speak with students, but this is a different issue to take on.
I would appreciate any advice and recommendation so I can set up a meeting with CPAC for possibly Nov. or Dec.
Should I send this info to others as well?

Photo: Erik McGregor

As usual – I’m cautiously optimistic. But, at least, we’re being heard and taken seriously. Everyone in the room knows the Granny Peace Brigade. Our presence in the street and at City Hall does make a difference.

Students not Soldiers,
Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

NYC Parent Teacher Conference Night – Spring 2017

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NYC Parent Teacher Conference Night provides an opportunity to bring non-military alternatives and educational opportunities to families.  On the evening of March 23, 2017, volunteers were at 11 high schools handing out 2 flyers to parents as they arrived to meet with their child’s teachers. Flyer information includes websites for colleges, training programs, community service, scholarships and financial aid as well as questions to ask recruiters in order to better understand the hype of enlistment promises and military service requirements.

With just a few words, “Consider non-military alternatives to the military for your child, check out the many websites, learn more about financial aid and the many opportunities available for your child” parents accept the information often with a thank you included.

Several parents stop to speak with volunteers for more information or to share their thoughts.
One parent commented that there had been some kind of assembly to inform parents about this, but that it was perfectly useless. She was so happy to have all the info in the palm of her hand.

One mother told a volunteer that her son was approached by recruiters as he got out of the subway at the 125th St station on his way home from school. The mom said the recruiters gave her son appealing stuff, for example, a water bottle. Her son seemed to be considering enlisting and she was concerned.

A mother who had been approached by recruiters when she was in dental assistant school never knew how the recruiters got her personal contact info. She said they were persistent. She didn’t want recruiters to be taking to her kid.

The reward of meeting a parent and hearing ‘Thank you for helping me understand and providing information’ is the reward volunteers receive. And thanks to all the volunteers for their time, effort and commitment to providing non-military alternatives to families – you have made a difference.

We hope you will join us in November when we will bring our message and information to parents at NYC high schools again.

Students not Soldiers,
Barbara Harris
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird

for the Granny Peace Brigade

Exchange of Letters Between the Granny Peace Brigade and Chancellor Fariña’s Office re JROTC

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In early December the Granny Peace Brigade sent the following letter via snail mail to Chancellor Carmen Fariña and also to members of New York City Council.

December 2016

Dear Chancellor Fariña,

One and one half million dollars of New York City taxpayer money is spent to fund Junior Reserve Officers Training programs in eighteen New York City high schools.

In addition to being opposed to the militarization of our children, we in the Granny Peace Brigade would like to point out that the JROTC programs glorify the use of weapons within the schools and at public events.

This is not in compliance with New York City policy prohibiting real or imitation weapons in schools.

(Citywide Behavioral Expectations to Support Student Learning, p.19)

We call upon you to do the right thing and defund all military programs in New York City high schools.

We can find better things for our children to hold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We received this response via email.

Dear Ms. Harris:

Thank you for writing to the Chancellor on behalf of the Granny Peace Brigade. We appreciate you sharing your concerns with us, and apologize for the delayed response.

Please be advised that New York City JROTC programs do not involve handling weaponry and use non-operational, dummy rifle replicas solely for military drills, which are conducted in a supervised setting.

Moreover, our JROTC programs are rooted in principles of youth leadership and community service. The JROTC class curriculum commonly includes leadership, team-building, citizenship, post-secondary planning, health, and physical fitness drills. Approximately one half of JROTC instructor salaries are reimbursed by the military JROTC programs. Students apply to the JROTC programs either directly through the high school admissions process, or self-select to be involved generally in 9th grade. Furthermore, early morning and after-school activities including drills (physical fitness, color guard, drum corps) and tutoring are frequently offered. JROTC programs provide students with a supportive niche of belonging and personalized attention within the larger school community, as well as a greater sense of involvement in school life. Participation in JROTC programs also has a positive impact on student achievement (e.g., graduation rates).

I hope this information has been helpful.  Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of our students, and I wish you and your family a joyous holiday season.

Sincerely,
Anessa Hodgson
Communications Associate
Chancellor’s Strategic Response Group

Here is our reply.

Dear Ms. Hodgson,

First off, the GPB really appreciates your December 23 email reply to our concerns about JROTC in New York City schools. So often responses to our concerns are perfunctory. It is clear that you devoted time and thought to your response.

We wish to address some fundamental concerns. First, is there a place for weapons in New York City Schools, even imitation weapons? We maintain that dummy weapons are not in compliance with NYC policy prohibiting real or imitation weapons in schools.

Our second concern has to do with children receiving  military style training in order to receive supportive services. We believe that JROTC should not be a prerequisite to providing “students with a supportive niche of belonging and personalized attention within the larger school community, as well as a greater sense of involvement in school life.” In fact, it should be incumbent upon the school system to provide all students with supportive services, community service opportunities and exciting programs.

We hope you can make time to watch a 3 -minute video concerning JROTC made by Veterans for Peace, Chicago. Veterans For Peace Chicago Education Not Militarization Campaign

We would welcome an opportunity to meet with the Chancellor to discuss these issues.

Dear Readers, We would be grateful for your comments on this exchange.

– Barbara Harris, Joan Pleune, Edith Cresmer, Nydia Leaf, Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

 

November 17, 2016 – Granny Peace Brigade Counter-Recruitment Action

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PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE NIGHT at NYC PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS

On Parent-Teacher Conference night volunteers went to high schools throughout the 5 boroughs. Distributing flyers in front of a high school building for more than an hour to parents and students who are rushing into the school to meet with teachers may not seem like an upbeat activity.  But it’s remarkably rewarding for volunteers and parents.

Our goal is to provide educational and non-military options to parents and students and counter military promises and programs with relevant information concerning truth in recruiters’ hype.  We believe wholeheartedly that students and their parents should be aware that there are alternatives to military service and an education can be secured without risking lives in needless wars.

Non-Military Options for Life after High School flyer gives families a helping hand to survey many websites and resources for job skills training, scholarships, financial aid, community outreach, volunteer programs.
Questions to Ask – Points to Consider flyer offers information on recruitment practices and promises as well as questions to ask and responses to expect in order to inform families and the student of misleading or unclear information.

It was obvious that parents do not want their children to enlist.  Many expressed an anti-war message – a rejection of their kids going into the Armed Forces.
A father remarked,”Oh yeah, I’m 100% with you.”
A parent said she was going to make copies of the flyers to give out in connection with her work.
A student mentioned an interest in starting a Peace club.
A teacher asked about a speaker on the issues and non-military options in her classroom.

During the evening parents at every school thanked volunteers for the flyers and caring enough to provide this information to them. The feedback from parents was heartfelt and a connection that someone cares about their child’s future.
Many thanks to the 24 volunteers who participated in the counter recruitment action at 12 high schools throughout the 5 boroughs. Families received your largesse and benefited from the information.

Ending war one student at a time.
– Barbara Harris
Granny Peace Brigade
Anti-Military Committee