Tag Archives: military recruiters

Parent Teacher Conference Night, March 27, 2014 – Volunteer Action Report

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Military recruiters are ever ready to engage high school students.  They visit schools, participate in high school career fairs, hang out in playgrounds and parks getting to know the neighborhood and the students.   Dressed in camouflage fatigues or full military uniform, recruiters form a relationship, discuss enlistment and glorify their mission.  It’s enticing to youth and full of promises for the future.

To counter the military story, on March 27th, volunteers were at 10 high schools distributing non-military informational handouts to parents who were attending parent teacher conferences. With only a brief minute or two to speak with a parent and offer an alternative message, the conversation is positive and pro-education.  (Click on photos for larger images.)

Photo: Eva-Lee Baird
Photo: Eva-Lee Baird

Every student deserves the opportunity to reach his/her goals without military interference. Our Questions to Ask flyer clarifies some of the misunderstanding parents and students may have about military service. The non-military Options for Life after High School flyer provides information to help families get started on finding job skill training courses, college programs, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities, or to consider a community service option. Parents gladly take the handouts and sincerely appreciate this information.

Few parents are pro-military, and they do not want their child to be recruited. But at one school, two mothers felt the military would be good for their sons.  That’s why the information we provide is so important.  It answers questions parents may have about military service and offers alternatives for students to reach their goals.

One team put up a sign on the wall near the entrance of the school – Options After High School.  At 2 schools JROTC students, in full uniform, hosted the event and greeted parents.  A volunteer, a veteran himself, noted that he had a good conversation with a JROTC leader, who took the handouts as well.  Volunteers unanimously declared this educational outreach action a success.
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We hope to see you in the fall when school reopens, students return, and recruiters are not far behind.  We’ll be out there just telling it like it is. And everyone can continue to tell it like it is. For downloadable copies of the flyers, tips on leafleting, and websites to visit, go to: www.grannypeacebrigade.org, Counter Recruitment Recruitment page.

Many thanks to all the volunteers – in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.
Students not Soldiers

-Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Junior Reserve Officer Training in 18 NYC High Schools

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New York City’s budget will come up for a vote this spring, and buried in its pages will be $2 million to fund the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) military programs at 18 NYC high schools, listed below.

JROTC is a program developed by the Department of Defense under the banner of citizenship and leadership for youth. Included as a regular part of the school day, the JROTC program masquerades as an educational curriculum.

But these classes are often led by instructors who are not certified by the NYC Department of Education. Instead the instructors are retired military personal, who are trained and prepared for classroom teaching using military procedures and management skills. JROTC is about winning the hearts and minds of students and school administrators. Recruiting students for military service is the goal.

Is this what we want for our kids? The GPB doesn’t think so, and we suspect a lot of parents agree with us. At the very least, we want to be sure that parents know that the schools are helping the military recruit their children. Will you help us get the word out?

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What you can do:
Please join us
Parent Teacher Conference Night at NYC High Schools
Thursday, March 27, 2014, 5:00PM
– We’ll have info to help families find job skill training courses, college programs, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities. Email us for details – grannypeace@gmail.com

– Barbara Harris and Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photo: Bud Korotzer

Schools with JROTC programs in 2013-2014
Bronx:

  1. Bronx High School for Law And Community Service (X439), Theodore Roosevelt Campus, 500 East Fordham Road
  2. De Witt Clinton HS (X440),  100 West Mosholu Parkway South
  3. Harry S. Truman HS – Educational Campus (X455), 750 Baychester Ave
  4. Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies (X297), Morris Educational Campus, 1100 Boston Road

Brooklyn:

  1. Franklin K. Lane HS (K420), 999 Jamaica Avenue
  2. Performing Arts and Technology HS (K507), 400 Pennsylvania Ave
  3. Fort Hamilton HS (K490),  8301 Shore Road

Manhattan:

  1. HS Of Graphic Communication Arts (M625), 439 West 49th St
  2. HS For Health Careers And Sciences (M468), 459 Audubon Ave

Queens:

  1. Aviation Career and Technical HS (Q610), 45-30 36th St.
  2. John Bowne HS (Q425), 63-25 Main St.
  3. Francis Lewis HS (Q430), 58-20 Utopia Parkway
  4. Long Island City HS (Q450), 14-30 Broadway

Staten Island:

  1. The Michael J. Petrides School (R080), 715 Ocean Ave.
  2. Port Richmond HS (R445), 35 St. Josephs Ave
  3. Curtis HS (R450), 105 Hamilton Ave
  4. Tottenville HS (R455), 100 Luten Ave
  5. Susan E. Wagner HS (R460), 1200 Manor Road

Parent Teacher Conference Night at NYC High Schools – Countering Military Recruitment

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Thursday evening, March 14th was very cold and windy.  With intent and warm clothing, volunteers  were at High Schools in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx & Staten Island to meet parents and students on their way to parent teacher conferences.

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Once again, with flyers in hand and a quick opening statement, they reached out to families to provide information about Non-Military Options for students after HS and Questions to Ask recruiters who may be talking to their child. Printed on bright pink and yellow papers, parents took the flyers with a thank you.

Feedback from volunteers noted positive responses from parents as well as teachers to the material.  At one school parents seemed relieved the get the cautionary information about military enlistment. Teachers were more than willing to take the information and use the format for lesson plans. One team had the opportunity to speak with a group of students who were considering military enlistment.  With a stroke of good luck, this was a team of 2 Veterans for Peace who could speak from experience and provide truth about war and military service.

Another team was invited inside the HS building to meet parents and keep warm.  At several schools, volunteers spoke with JROTC members and discovered that none were considering ROTC in college.

My experience, alone at a large HS in lower Manhattan, proved to be different from my past visits to this school. Parents wondered who I was standing in front of the school with a handful of flyers.  Since the flow of parents toward the school entrance was light and well paced, I had a little more time with each parent before he/she entered the building.  After my quick message about non-military options for students – from skill training to college opportunities, financial aid, scholarships, and what to know if the military starts calling your home, they were off to their teacher meeting.

I noticed that most parents still had the flyers in their hands when leaving the school building. They stopped to thank me again for the information, some asked a question, many added ‘have a good evening’ with a smile. Very warm, very generous.

One father, among many, looked at me with such concern for his child and perhaps a call for help; I was moved and distressed by my inability to truly make a difference for him and his family.  I remain troubled for all parents who are struggling to get ahead and see the future in their child’s educational success.  Each child deserves a good education – filled with academics, emotional support, a variety of educational and social programs, art/music, tutoring, sports, and challenges to reach new goals.

We’ll be back at the schools this Fall – join us then.

Peace,
– Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Parent Teacher Conference Night at NYC High Schools – March 29, 2012

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The Dept. of Defense has begun its $5 million summer advertising campaign to entice youth to enlist. Social media, YouTube, Facebook, and video games will carry promotions for enlistment. To counter the military recruitment message, volunteers were at 12 high schools in 4 boroughs armed with flyers and a commitment to promote an alternative message.

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The outreach action provided parents with information and questions to ask in order to better understand military recruiters’ promises and tactics. The response was positive, pro-education, and anti-military. There was no doubt that families need support, information, and resources to help their children succeed and reach their goals.

A volunteer notes that people were very receptive to one of our key pitches: ‘With the spring and warmer weather, the recruiters are going to be coming out again trying to get our kids. We want to make sure they are ready to challenge the lies they’ve been telling to get new bodies. The recruiters paint rosy pictures but we see how the new soldiers are when they come back.”

The Options for Life After High School flyer is a resource page which provides websites and contacts for CUNY/SUNY colleges, financial aid, scholarships, job skill programs and more. This flyer was popular and every parent wanted one.   As parents left the school after the meeting, I noticed they were still carrying the brightly colored sheets as they waved goodbye.

Volunteers were thanked; parents sincerely valued the outreach. Rob, a volunteer, writes, “I think people really appreciated hearing views that were consonant with their own unspoken ones. Really important we were out there just telling it like it is.”

And everyone can continue to tell it like it is. For downloadable copies of the flyers, tips on leafleting, and websites to visit, go to the Counter Recruiting page of the GPB website

– Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photo: Harry Bubbins

Parent Teacher Conference Night Action

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Thursday, October 28, 2010, 34 Counter-Recruitment volunteers were at 12 NYC high schools meeting with parents and students before they entered the school for teacher conferences.

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Volunteers handed out flyers and the Opt –Out form.  These materials provide information about misleading military recruitment inducements, steps to ensure that the military does not get a student’s private contact information, and on-line resources for alternative non-military options for a better future.  In a time of aggressive military recruiting of youth, this action is a direct way to educate families and students about future educational and non-military options to reach their goals.

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Volunteers were able to engage in brief conversations with parents about these issues.  Parents appreciated the information provided and especially wanted to know more about financial aid, scholarships, and CUNY programs available to their children.  Two men on their way to a teen leaders’ youth club program asked for flyers to bring to their meeting. “Those kids really need this info.’

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To learn more about counter recruitment and this project, go to www.grannypeacebrigade.org.  Read about the issues and download our flyers.  Anyone, anywhere can participate in this educational outreach action anytime and, perhaps, make a change for a family or student through such a connection.  A teacher requested copies of the flyers to give to her colleagues at Bronx high schools. The cost of war and the cutbacks in educational programs are shortchanging our youth.

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Let’s turn this picture around and bring positive peaceful solutions and educational resources to all our children. There is good news:  Many schools are now in compliance with the Department of Education Ruling to distribute, explain, and collect the Opt-Out forms from students at the beginning of the school year. Many parents shared their thoughts and were strongly against their children joining the military.  The non-military Options and Alternatives handout can help make this hope a reality.

– Barbara Harris, Counter Recruitment Committee
Granny Peace Brigade / Code Pink NYC
Photos – Bud Korotzer

The Granny Peace Brigade Goes to College

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It’s often asked by peace activist organizations – “Where are the young people? Why aren’t they speaking out for peace and justice?”

Responding to an invitation from Adelphi University Professor Deborah Little, five members of the Granny Peace Brigade traveled to the University and met with students from the Women, Peace and Justice Project seminar. We spoke about issues the GPB is working on and described direct actions to effect change. We hoped presenting the Grannies’ message and activism would serve as a model for college students. We were not disappointed!

Over 100 students from the Sociology and Political Science Departments attended the seminar. Each Granny spoke about an event or issue of current importance and relevance to the students. Molly Klopot spoke of how women activists from several peace groups united in an action which resulted in founding the GPB. Phyllis Cunningham introduced the legislative committees’ action issues, Eva-Lee Baird explained the Phone-A-Thon project and materials. After viewing a video of a phone-a-thon action at Columbus Circle, a student volunteered to call her representative as everyone listened and applauded. Activism 101!

Barbara Harris discussed the prevalence of military recruiters in the schools as well as in targeted neighborhoods, what the GPB is doing to counter the recruiters’ aggressive tactics and misleading promises, what needs to be done, and how college students can get involved in this effort. Nydia Leaf explained the call for abolition of all US military bases on foreign soil, the current situation surrounding the presence of such bases including Guantanamo, and the geo-strategy and economic interests which guide US policy.

Most gratifying to us from the hour spent with the students was their obvious interest in the issues, their receptiveness to our information and respect for our experience, the understanding that each has a responsibility to act, and their desire to learn how to become more active in the peace movement.

One hour for the seminar was far too short, but at the Q and A several students asked questions ranging from personal concerns about patriotism and a family tradition of military service, to media control of information and political actions, to the pervasiveness of violent video games. The final question was straightforward: A student wanted to call Senator Schumer with a message loud and clear – “End the occupation, Bring the troops home now – and I will forgive you for the Mukasey vote.”

Several students remained to share experiences with us such as the young man with years in JROTC and preparation for military service, who finally realized he wanted a different choice for himself –a college education and a path to community service. A young woman wanted to know how her grandmother could get in touch with us.

We all agreed this opportunity to speak with and learn from college students was very fruitful outreach. They have energy, know-how, and an interest in ongoing education for peace. We offered the impetus and example to just do it.

The GPB plans to pursue academic outreach and present similar seminars in order to continue a dialogue with student groups.

– Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade