Most Manatee County School Board members, under the advocacy of Superintendent Roger Dearing, are unwilling to distribute “Opt Out From the Military Recruiters” forms to students when high schools open on Monday.
Coalition of Concerned Patriots members have appeared monthly for three years at meetings, pointing out the need for making opt-out forms available to students.
Why? The No Child Left Behind Act requires that the names, addresses and phone numbers of all high school students be turned over to military recruiters, unless their parents/guardians tell schools, in writing, that they’re opting out. Collier, Lee and Pinellas counties distribute opt-out forms. Manatee and Sarasota counties continue to drag their feet.
Our coalition invites people to become involved so students’ personal information is not automatically given to the military. This will happen unless an opt-out form is submitted in writing to the appropriate high school principal by Sept. 15.
A sample letter is at www.manatee.k12.fl.us under “Hot topics” but it is not a form that can be downloaded and completed. Dearing and a School Board majority made it clear at the board’s meeting Thursday that no form will be distributed when schools open.
For many students badgered by recruiters, this could be a life and death issue if they’re deployed for war. Without the opt-out form, consequences may be dire. It’s time for the Manatee County School Board to distribute the forms. Let Dearing and the School Board know. Call 708-8770!
The writer is co-chairman of the Coalition of Concerned Patriots. He resides in Bradenton.
Archive for the ‘Recruiting At High Schools’ Category
At the end of this station’s report (video at the link), the anchor adds that only after parent and student complaints were ROTC exercises uniforms dropped from the class curriculum.
Creedmoor — Some parents are balking at a study-skills course being taught to high school freshmen in Granville County, saying it borders on military recruitment.
The course is required for all ninth-graders in the county, and school administrators said it is needed to teach students the study and communications skills they will need throughout high school and college.
“The curriculum was approved by the school board as the 9th grade freshman enrichment curriculum,” South Granville High School Principal Pauline Brady said.
The course was piloted last year at South Granville High, and only one ninth-grader had to be held back, Brady said. The course was expanded to the county’s other two high schools this fall.
But parent Steve Strazis said he wants to pull his daughter from the course because it appears too military-oriented. The class is taught by an ROTC instructor, and initial requirements called for students to drill with ROTC classes and to be given the option of wearing uniforms at school.
“I think it’s disingenuous of the school to insist that this not recruiting going on,” Strazis said, noting the curriculum emphasizes “leadership enrichment” for students.
“(The course outline) doesn’t say what methods will be used, but it doesn’t say anything about military,” he said.
During the first day of class, he said, the instructor discussed college expenses and how the military could help defray the cost. But Brady said the instructor was just mentioning scholarship opportunities.
“One of them happens to be a military scholarship, so the information is shared with students so they have options,” she said. “I have (other) teachers who say, ‘I went to school on an athletic scholarship.'”
Still, Strazis said the class appears to go too far.
“I still have some questions about whether or not this may be used as a recruiting tool,” he said.
When it comes to military recruitment in public schools, no child’s information is left inaccessible.
According to a brief section of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), any school receiving federal funding is required to provide military recruiters with middle and high school students’ names, phone numbers, and addresses upon request. Meanwhile, the Pentagon maintains a Department of Defense (DoD) database known as the Joint Advertising and Market Research Studies Recruiting Database that contains extensive information on approximately 30 million Americans ages 16 to 25.
The database is updated daily and includes information such as social security number, grade point average, ethnicity, areas of study, height, weight, email address, selective service registration, and phone number. Individuals may opt out from being included in this database but must repeat this process upon changing address. Many objectors claim that this database violates the Federal Privacy Act.
The military also uses the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery as a means of information gathering. The “most widely used multiple aptitude test in the world,” the DoD develops and maintains the test and more than half of America’s high schools participate. Students’ scores determine which occupations best suit them. Taking the ASVAB is also a requirement for military enlistment.
In order for their tests to be processed, students are required to sign a waiver that allows the military to keep any information provided on the form for various uses. In most cases, military recruiters automatically receive copies of students’ scores, names, grades, sex, addresses, phone numbers, and post-graduation plans unless the school decides against releasing this information.
“Many students will take the ASVAB and not know what it is,” Pitcaithley says. “It gives the military a foot in the door to accessing students.”
One mother says that during her son’s freshmen orientation this summer at Baldwin High School on Maui, a guidance counselor mentioned the ASVAB as a free test offered to students by the military.
After more than a year’s deliberation, the Pinellas School Board on Tuesday granted access to groups wishing to present alternatives to military service to high school students.
The decision means that after a 21/2-year ban, antiwar groups such as Veterans for Peace will be allowed on Pinellas County high school campuses – as long as their intent is to present an alternative to the message delivered by military recruiters.
The board’s adoption of an “access to students” policy, which came after several draft versions, makes Pinellas the first large district in the state to approve such a plan, School Board attorney Jim Robinson said.
“What you see now,” Robinson said, “is a much simplified rule that simply states that to the same extent that military recruiters are granted access to students, so will persons who seek to propose alternative post-secondary careers and opportunities.”
The new policy includes several caveats, which apply to all individuals or groups seeking access to students, including college and military recruiters.
Visits must be scheduled in advance with school administrators. No more than two visitors can meet with students at one time without permission from the principal.
Meetings can take place before and after school and at lunch time only, and all visitors must wear district-issued identification badges while on campus.
The policy also gives principals the right to deny access to any group or individual who “becomes disruptive.”
That was a sticking point with some members of Veterans for Peace, the group that brought the question of student access to the district in April 2006. Several wanted the policy to be more specific regarding what activities qualified as “disruptive,” fearing visitors could be arbitrarily dismissed without just cause.
Nevertheless, Veterans for Peace member Linda Hubner said she was thrilled with the board’s unanimous decision to approve the access policy.
“This is what we’ve wanted all along,” Hubner said, “the chance to give kids the information they need to make life and death decisions.”
Two years ago, Pinellas officials denied the group access to students, saying the veterans’ message didn’t correspond with school goals. The group had cited legal precedent that it would constitute “viewpoint discrimination.”
A local organization is informing students that they can prevent that [students’ information being released to recruiters] from happening.
Thursday morning the Central Valley Counter Recruitment Coalition handed out flyers at several high schools including Fresno High School in Central Fresno.
Organizers say there is a form students can use to keep their contact information private from the military.
Scott Keys, CVCRC, says, “It’s really about helping them understand this, rights imbedded in the No Child Left Behind Act.”
Organizers say the act allows the information to be released. They say they want students to know about it and that they have the option to opt out.
They also say students are not required to take a military readiness test which can release their contact information.
The phone number for author of this story, Bill Zlatos, is listed at the end. Consider calling him to ask why no student, parent or member of a peace group is quoted in this article.
After a monthlong battle, the city school board adopted a policy Wednesday night that restricts military and other recruiters in schools.
In response to complaints about military recruiters by parents and peace groups, the board voted 8-1 to adopt five guidelines that take effect this school year, with school board member Mark Brentley dissenting.
The new rules do the following:
* Require recruiters to register with the principal or an administrator upon arrival.
* Require a district employee to escort recruiters around a school unless they can show proof of having state and federal clearances or a statement from their employer that they have such clearances.
* Prohibit them from sponsoring contests, drawings, lotteries or from exchanging gifts unless they are of scholarships or are of minimal value.
* Ban them from using exhibits that violate the district’s weapons policy or using video games that depict weapons or violence.
* Limit them to meeting students in areas designated by the principal.
It’s neat that the the school district, prompted by a counter-recruiting group, took the initiative on this. From News-Press.com:
Military recruiters will be relegated to high school career centers, and then they can only show up by appointment.
It’s a marked change in school policy from last year, when some high schools allowed military recruiters wide latitude in reaching out to students. At some schools, recruiters were allowed to set up tables in the cafeteria during lunch. Others limited access to the career center.
“Every school was doing things differently,” said Herbert Wiseman, the Lee County School District’s director of middle and high school operations. “The superintendent thought we needed to get everybody on the same sheet of music and develop a process document that everyone could follow.”
The new policy also covers recruiters for colleges and universities, employers and groups opposed to military recruiting, such as the Wage Peace Project.
An open letter to Latino and Latina students and all leaders of immigrant rights organizations fromfounder/director of the Guerrero Azteca Peace Project.
In the wake of the failed immigration reform, passionate discussions have arisen among various organizations both for and against the DREAM Act.
It gives me great joy to see students taking nonviolent action to find a solution to the immigration question. Many of them came to the United States as children and have finished their high school education. Now, because they lack legal documents, they face an uncertain future that may deny them the opportunity to attend college or find a decent job. The DREAM Act offers them a light at the end of an otherwise dark and uncertain road.
I see students on fasts, in marches, lobbying elected officials, all in the name of the DREAM Act’s passage. But beware. Be very careful. Because our honorable youth with their dreams and wishes to serve their new country are being tricked and manipulated in an immoral and criminal way.
Why do I say this? Simply put, the DREAM Act proposes two years of college as a pathway to permanent residency, but it also includes a second option linked to the so-called war on terror — “two years of military service.” Our young people may not see that this is a covert draft in which thousands of youth from Latino families will be sent to Iraq or some other war-torn nation, where they will have to surrender their moral values and become war criminals or perhaps return home in black bags on their way to a tomb drenched with their parents’ tears.
How many of our youth can afford college? How many will be able to take the educational option? Unfortunately very few, because the existing system locks out the children of working families with high tuition and inflated admissions criteria. Most will be forced to take the military option to get their green card. But what good is a green card to a dead person? What good is a green card to a young person severely wounded in mind and body?
I ask our undocumented youth to read the following passages regarding the plans of the Pentagon and the Bush administration:
In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 10, 2006, Under Secretary of Defense David Chu said: “According to an April 2006 study from the National Immigration Law Center, there are an estimated 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented alien young adults who entered the U.S. at an early age and graduate from high school each year, many of whom are bright, energetic and potentially interested in military service. … Provisions of S 2611, such as the DREAM Act, would provide these young people the opportunity of serving the United States in uniform.”
More recently, Lt. Col. Margaret Stock of the U.S. Army Reserve, a faculty member at West Point, told a reporter that the DREAM Act could help recruiters meet their goals by providing a “highly qualified cohort of young people” without the unknown personal details that would accompany foreign recruits. “They are already going to come vetted by Homeland Security. They will already have graduated from high school,” she said. “They are prime candidates.” (Citations from research by Prof. Jorge Mariscal, UC San Diego.)
As you can see, our undocumented youth are being targeted by military recruiters. And equally important is something that few people have mentioned — there is no such thing as a two-year military contract. Every enlistment is a total of eight years.
Given these facts, I invite all young people who are filled with hope and dreams and energy to fight for human rights and for a fair pathway to legalization. But they must also demand that the military option of the DREAM Act be replaced by a community service option (as appeared in earlier drafts of the legislation) so that community service or college become the two pathways to permanent residency. Only then will they avoid becoming victimized by a criminal war as my son Jesús Alberto did when he died on March 27, 2003, after stepping on an illegal U.S. cluster bomb. Through education or community service our undocumented youth can contribute to their communities, and their future will be filled with peace and justice.
Gotta love the headline, “Community fires first shot against military recruiters in schools.” From the Sandy Post:
Members of the Oregon Trail School Board heard testimony from two Sandy residents who oppose military recruiters in schools at the district’s Monday, Aug. 13, board meeting.
Peter Wylie and Patty Caldwell called for the board to possibly ban military recruiters, offer an opt-out form to prevent recruiters from acquiring student information and provide equal access to counter-recruitment information.
“We need to put the opt-out form in the hands of every student and mail an opt-out form to every family in the district,” Wylie said. “Or you could just not let recruiters into the high school at all. In times like these we don’t need our children to be sucked into a war by military recruiters.”
The board is expected to revisit the issue at a future meeting and possibly form a policy concerning military recruiters. The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, at the City Council chambers at City Hall, 39250 Pioneer Blvd.
Playing catch-up here with some of this news. From the Americus Times-Recorder:
A newly formed group, Peace Action Team (PAT) holds a forum from 7-9 p.m. Aug. 6 at Lake Blackshear Regional Library to discuss military recruitment in the area high schools. The event is free and open to the public; high school students and parents are encouraged to attend.
PAT is a group of concerned Christians who have come together in Americus to explore and implement ways of equality, peace and justice for all.
The forum will be facilitated by Christina Repoley, peace education coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The local PAT is collaborating with AFSC to develop ways to inform high school students and parents about the degree of access military recruiters have in the public schools and the methods often employed to entice students to enlist. The forum will also help equip those interested in working with the public schools and young people to counter military recruitment and find viable alternatives to military service.
A 20-minute video — “Before You Enlist!” — will be screened at the forum that documents the risks and misconceptions of military life, explores conscientious objection, selective service registration and U.S. militarism around the world.