Opt-Out Action on March 26, 2009
It was dreary, really dreary and the rain didn’t stop. The wind added insult to injury, but 32 stoic volunteers, with flyers in hand, in messenger bag, or in plastic bags traveled to 11 NYC high schools to bring Opt-Out forms and Options for Life After High School information to parents.
The Options For Life After High School lists several programs and websites to help parents get started on researching CUNY University programs, technical and trade programs, financial aid and scholarship opportunities for their children.
A volunteer commented that parents responded extremely well when asked, “Would you like information about how to get MONEY to go to college without going into the military?” And some fairly guarded looking people let that sink and then looked at me and took the flier. This was exactly the kind of information they needed. The Counter-Recruitment committee wants to focus on alternatives to military enlistment for high school students and encourage them to starting planning early for their future.
When asked by a volunteer, “Would you like for the military recruiters not to telephone you at your home?”, nine out of ten parents said that they would like that and eagerly reached for the second sheet, which was the Opt-Out form. The Opt-Out form must be signed by a parent or student and returned to the Principal’s office. Filing the form protects a student’s private information from being shared with military recruiters.
The Options for Life After High School handout is a positive addition to the Opt-Out form. Many teachers and a Parent-Coordinator took flyers to distribute in their schools. At one high school, contact was made with a reporter, a UFT member and the Dean. That’s impressive, and they want to meet with us and learn more about counter-recruitment issues.
Some parents asked volunteers why they were out in the rain, and the volunteers laughed and responded, “Because we have important material and we care.” The parents looked a bit puzzled, but smiled back. Another volunteer commented that the action was so rewarding for him “parents stopped, said thanks, and smiled. This doesn’t happen often when I am on the streets leafleting. I felt very good providing this information.”
Armed with the Opt-Out forms and information, we will be leafleting in September, when high schools re-open. Think about it – and join us then. If you speak Spanish, your participation would be much appreciated by many parents and the volunteers.
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for future actions.
– Barbara Harris
Code Pink NYC
Granny Peace Brigade NY
Photos Eva-Lee Baird