Books not Bombs, Students not Soldiers

Parent Teacher Conference Night, October 25, 2012 –
Volunteer Action

The military continues to seek out high school students for enlistment potential. The threats of endless wars require a prepared and full battery of troops, and one of the best scouting places is at the high schools. To counter this military outreach, volunteers were at 10 high schools distributing non-military informational handouts and resource materials to the arriving parents. With only a brief minute or two to speak with a parent, we were pleasantly greeted and distributed more than 4000 flyers.

We believe every child deserves an education and the opportunity to reach his/her goals without military interference. Our Truth in Recruitment handout clarifies some of the misunderstanding parents and students may have about military service. It’s important that youth understand what it means to serve in the military and receive the information they need to make educated decisions.

Complementing this information, our flyer ‘Non-Military Options for Life after HS’ 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 sincerely appreciate this information. A volunteer noted that when students are with a parent, they take the information more seriously. A family conversation begins, “This looks good, let’s talk about it.” Another volunteer spoke with a teacher who stopped, took copies of the materials, and was impressed with the action.

Parent Teacher Night(Click for a larger image.)

As we have been participating in this outreach for several years, the response from many parents has changed from the military may be good option for my kid, to ‘ no way, no army, not my kid.’ At one school, members of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) took the materials – they wanted to know about other options.

It was reported that at a couple of high schools students’ privacy rights are still being compromised. Administrative procedures for managing the Opt-Out, which withholds students’ personal information from military recruiters, may not be compliance with the NYC Chancellor’s Regulations. We will follow up on this information with the New York Civil Liberties Union, which oversees the Regulations, to ensure that all high school administrators are adhering to the mandated policy. It is important that the militarization of youth, inside and outside of schools, be addressed and monitored.

Kudos to all the volunteers – in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island with special thanks to CodePink NYC.

In Peace,
– Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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