Tag Archives: military recruiters

Parent-Teacher Conference Night Peace Action – November 2019

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On a mild Thursday evening, 28 volunteers were at 12 high schools in NYC to meet parents and students as they were entering their school to meet with teachers. Volunteers had 2 informational flyers to give to each parent.
1/ Options for Life After High School– 2/ Questions to Ask concerning military recruitment.
Please note that the flyers are available for you to download and distribute at high schools or provide to teachers or guidance counselors at any time you have the opportunity.

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As volunteers report:
1/ Most folks were receptive and those that did stop for a brief chat were positive when I told them what we were distributing. A few stated that they would not want their children to go into the military and even some students told me this. Three teachers also agreed that the military was not an option they wanted for their students and took our info to share.

2/ Because of the sparseness of parents, we gave many of our leaflets to older students who read them. We noticed that the leaflets sparked discussions among these students about their futures after HS.

3/ A librarian got especially enthusiastic and took several leaflets to have at the library; she is also the union rep at the HS. Several parents told us that their children had already made some decisions about vocation, everything from police academy to engineering.

4/ This is a really good leaflet that generates thoughts and discussions with parents and the student.

5/ A volunteer’s comment: “As I said to Jane at the end, this is my favorite thing to do all year. So satisfying… parents so grateful.” Thank you for the opportunity.

We hope you will join us in March, 2020 when the Spring Parent Teacher Conferences are held again.

Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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

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

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

Ms Gizmo at the East Harlem Youth Fair

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Thursday, July 21st the granny Peace Brigade brought our Fund School Educational Programs message to the East Harlem Youth Fair. Our table attracted 74 gamers, mostly students, to participate in the Ms. Gizmo Penny Poll. They were asked to considered the programs they would like to see in their schools, by distributing the 20 pennies they were given to select their choices. The  Ms. Gizmo cylinders filled up as they considered their interests and needs.

Youth Fair Ms. Gizmo 7-20016

Once again it was a rewarding experience for all as well as an opportunity to speak with the community youth and hear what matters to them and why.

The GPB  message: It’s time to reallocate the $1.5 million funding for Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) in 18 NYC high schools to  programs students want and need. No to JROTC military programs.  We support peaceful educational alternatives.

2016_07_21_youthfair_pie_chart
Click for a larger image.

Here are the results of the penny poll which focused on student’s educational interests and needs.

Peace,
– Barbara H, Nydia, Edith, Marty, Barbara W, Joan, Nancy
– for the Granny Peace Brigade

Let’s Plug the School-to-Military Pipeline

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These Grannies Are Helping to Plug the School-to-Military Pipeline at Its Source

When teachers are underpaid and schools are underserved, why do we pay veterans to encourage young students to join the military?
By Joyce Chu
May 11, 2016

On a Wednesday afternoon last month, a group of gray-haired women with canes and Styrofoam guns lined the streets outside the New York City Department of Education’s headquarters in Brooklyn. “Get the military out of our schools!” they shouted, capturing pedestrians’ attention. “No more JROTC!” These were the courageous women of the Granny Peace Brigade, and they were there to protest what they see as the militarization of the city’s public schools.  (Read more)

Joyce Chu, An intern at THE NATION, wrote this article about ending the military presence in U.S. public schools.  She researched the topic thoroughly and highlighted the Granny Peace Brigade as well as Veterans for Peace (VFP) and Project on Youth and Non-Military Options (YANO) explaining our opposition to funding JROTC programs (Junior Reserve Officer Training Candidate) in high schools throughout the country.

2016_04_13signsFor about eight years the GPB has been a part of a campaign here in New York City to expose and to eliminate JROTC funding. An annual allocation of about $1.5 million of NYC taxpayer dollars goes to JROTC thus, depriving students of much needed programs in areas such as Arts and Music, Sports, Counseling, After-school Clubs and others.

This is a comprehensive view of a military program that, as Ms. Chu writes in it  “JROTC programs and military recruitment are strongest in poor and rural communities where there is less economic opportunity.”

Special thanks to Ms. Chu for her article and to our own Barbara Harris for her unwavering work on this issue.

– Nydia Leaf with her Anti-Militarization Committee sisters
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Students’ Privacy Extends to Military-Recruitment Tools

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To the Editor of Education Week:

In New York state, a network of parents and other activists led by the New York City-based nonprofit Class Size Matters were instrumental in quashing a plan by the now-closed education technology vendor inBloom to warehouse student information. Leonie Haimson, the founder and executive director of Class Size Matters, said at the time that inBloom was “only the tip of the iceberg.” How right she was.

Almost two years later, another third party in the Empire State continues to run roughshod over the guarantees of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. I am talking, of course, about the United States military. During the 2012-13 school year, more than 13,000 New York state students sat for the three-hour-long Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB.

In public, the test is marketed to schools as a “vocational guidance” tool, one way the military can give back to the community. In military training manuals and trade journals, however, it is discussed as a recruitment tool. Worse still, students and parents are not always told that the test was designed by and for the military, and that the data gathered are being collected and used by the military.

It’s time for the same educators and parents who ran inBloom out of town to tell the New York State Board of Regents to take action on this issue. By issuing an advisory memo to schools statewide, the regents can encourage guidance counselors to either substitute the ASVAB for some other kind of aptitude test or at least better protect student privacy. Students taking the ASVAB should know that they need to indicate on their tests that they don’t want the results released to military recruiters.
Student privacy matters, whether it’s inBloom or ASVAB. The only bonus is that students that take practice exams for the ASVAB, such as this ASVAB word knowledge practice test, can remain anonymous and the providers of these practice tests won’t share your results to military recruiters.

– Barbara Harris, Director, New York Coalition to Protect Student Privacy
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Dear NY City Council: Don’t spend $1.5 million on Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps

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Friends,
On Wednesday, March 25th,  I gave testimony urging NY City Council members to vote to eliminate the approximately $1.5 million tax levy allocation for the the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC)  program in 18 New York City public high schools.

Newyorkcityhall

Representing the Granny Peace Brigade and 22 supporting organizations, my testimony asked the council to re-direct the funds to better serve current underfunded educational programs, as well as the reduced or eliminated after school programs.  The Committee on Education can find far better uses for $1.5 million taxpayerdollars than supporting a military program that s developed by the Pentagon.  With little  transparency or lack of oversight of curriculum or goals achieved, the military delivers the wrong message to our high school students.

For many reasons, JROTC should not be subsidized by NYC taxpayers. My testimony provided details on the disturbing aspects of the program.  Briefly here are the major issues.  Download the full testimony.

1/Cost of the program ($1.5 M), military instructors educational requirements, lack of NYC teacher credentials and requisite qualification, yet receiving salaries equal to licensed teachers. Each school hires 2 instructors for each class.

2/The Program  focuses on military values and hierarchy, the ideas of soldiering, following commands, fitness and drills. Curriculum is developed by the military and presents a partisan pro-military view of historical, political,and moral issues.

3/Teaching approach promulgates a highly authoritarian approach, discourages criticism, and glorifies the unbroken chin of command.  This curriculum does not belong in public schools.

4/Weapons – JROTC sends the wrong message about weapons.  Students cannot bring weapons of any sort into school, but they can read and learn about handling them in JROTC textbooks. JROTC students carry rifles into HS  assembles, during parades and drill team events.

5/Anti-Violence.  In the 2015 City Council Allocation Funding document, $550,000 has been allocated to programs to teach anti-violence, anti-weaponry, and conflict resolution strategies.  How confused can a student be?  JROTC kids carry rifles, guns are fun and war is a game.  So, what’s going on in the public high schools?

In conclusion, I noted the $1.5 million allocation should be transferred to an area of educational service being cut  or reduced and better better serve the needs of our students and teachers.  From art, music, sports, environmental initiatives — to hiring more, and much needed high school career guidance counselors. This subsidy for a military training program should have no place in the  Mayor’s FY 2015 Education Budget, and we ask the council to eliminate and re-direct these funds for far more important educational priorities.

We look forward to the Council’s leadership on this significant educational issue.

Respectfully,
– Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade and all listed supporters
…………………………
After I concluded, Council Member Dromm (Chair of the Committee on Education) thanked me for continuing to work on this issue and noted a follow up meeting to discuss new strategies.

Before I left, several people in the council chamber, who had previously given testimony on different budget issues,  came over to thank me for the testimony.  They didn’t know about JROTC or the details of the program and were strongly on our side.  As we have found, as people learn more about the JROTC, they agree to eliminate taxpayer funding for the program.