Let the Parents Know

Spreading the word about the Opt-Out option

An extra bonus from the Oct. 23rd Parent Teacher Night Opt-Out Action, was an invite to speak at a Norman Thomas HS PTA meeting.  Last night, representing the Granny Peace Brigade, I went with 2 teens from the YaYa Network to talk about the Opt-Out option, military recruiters in the schools, and the rights and responsibilities of parents to take charge of the issue.  We were scheduled for 15 minutes, but because of the interest and concerns of parents, the discussion and Q & A went on for 40 minutes.

Not one parent in the room knew about the Opt-Out.  They were troubled by the lack of information they had received from the school and then energized to do the right thing and to spread the word. The YaYas wowed the crowd with personal stories of recruiters harassing them and friends.  One student who was with her mother at the meeting told us we should have been at the school last year when recruiters came and 3 of her friends enlisted.  A math teacher elaborated on his experience with military recruiters and what parents should do if harassed.

The principal came into the auditorium just before we finished speaking.  He said the Opt-Out form had been sent to every parent during the summer. It was included in the general package of materials for parents and students.  Really?  Didn’t he realize that none or very, very few of the forms had been returned?  Parents confronted him with their new knowledge.  Maybe there will be a change in prodecures at Norman Thomas HS next September.
-Barbara Harris

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