New Jersey Coalition Against War on Iraq

 

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No Child Left Behind Act - Resisting Military Recruitment


  • Feel free to borrow text from the below letter to send to your local papers.
    SAMPLE SUPERINTENDENT LETTER

  • Bergen Action Network is also doing some excellent work to oppose military recruitment.  Visit their site at www.bergenaction.net . Also, check out the following link, Bergen County Coalition Calls for Teaching Moratorium Upon U.S. War Escalation

  • The following letter was published in the Princeton Packet on December 24, 2002.

    In a discussion with the editor in chief of that paper, I asked him if he
    was aware of the provision - he was not. I made the point with him that if
    he, the editor of the paper, is not aware, then most of the readership,
    including the parents, are also likely not aware. He agreed and says that
    he is assigning his education reporter to investigate how the districts in
    the coverage area of his paper are handling the implementation of the act.

    This approach can be tried with news editors of other local papers as well -
    by focusing news attention on the issue it will at least alert more parents
    to the act and how they can opt out.

    In an exchange of letters with the superintendent of the Montgomery Township
    School District, I have learned that military recruiters have the
    opportunity to set up information booths during the lunch periods in the
    high school. The super referred me to who in his administration to go to to
    pursue similar opportunities for an alternative message - for peace
    recruitment. I will keep you informed as to how that goes.

    He also referred me to the social studies supervisor in the high school in
    response to my suggestion of allowing war veterans with an alternative view
    to address students as a way to encourage critical thinking. Of course, I
    will follow through with that as well.  -Bob Witanek


 Inform parents about military recruitment

Packet readers should be aware of a policy about which their school superintendent might have forgotten to tell them. According to the "No Child Left Behind Act," school districts are now required by law to provide phone numbers, mailing addresses and other personal data of high school students to U.S. military recruiters or face huge financial penalties. Many districts have provided little or no information about the policy to parents.

I recently wrote to Dr. Stuart Schnur, superintendent of schools in Montgomery Township, asking how to opt out my child (who is not yet in high school) from this invasive policy. I oppose war, particularly the massive misadventure the U.S. government has in store for us for the next several years against the nation and people of Iraq. I also have higher ambitions for my son than are offered by military service.  I recommended to Dr. Schnur that parents be informed by letter at least twice a year about this policy, and their alternative to opt out. The letter should specify exactly how parents can opt out - and provide a non-consent form they can sign. Information about the policy and how to opt out should be posted on the district Web site in a prominent location, and a sample opt-out letter should be provided.

I fully understand that this policy is mandated by federal law and that school districts must comply or face severe financial penalties. I am not suggesting that districts refuse to comply and suffer the penalties; taxpayers cannot afford that hardship. But nothing in the law states that districts need to comply stealthily. In fact, it would be a service to the parents of all districts to let us know about the policy and about the proper methods of opting out.

Finally, since districts are forced to allow recruiters access to our children, I would like to suggest they also invite alternative views: Vietnam and Gulf War veterans to speak to the children about some of the less pleasing sides of military enlistment. Our children should have an opportunity to hear such alternatives in the interest of making an informed decision and in promoting critical thinking.

I hope all school districts will regard parental input and to implement the policies in a way that affords full disclosure to parents about the policies along the lines of my suggestions.

My suggestion is that parents in all area districts send letters to their superintendents asking about the policies and if you do not want military recruitment pressure put on your children, that you ask your superintendent how to opt your child out from the mandated information sharing.

Bob Witanek
Montgomery Township


SAMPLE SUPERINTENDENT LETTER

Modify the following letter for your purposes to oppose the No Child Left Behind Act and its consequences for the children in your neighborhood and to gain opportunities for Peace recruiting and alternative to military service counseling.

Dear ___

I have just learned of the No Child Left Behind Act provisions requiring school districts to share private personal information on children with military recruiters. I know my child is a little young for military recruitment but I want you to hereby consider my child ___"opted out" to have any information shared with military recruiters about him or about my family. If you need a letter from me with my signature please inform me as to what exactly the letter should say, who it should be mailed to, etc.

 I am also interested in any and all information about how this regulation is being implemented in this district.

 I also hereby call upon you as superintendent to make this policy public to all  School District parents. Parents should be informed by letter at least twice per year about this policy and their alternative to opt out from the policy of providing personal data to military recruiters. The letter should specify exactly how parents can opt out - and provide a non-consent form that they can sign. Information about the policy and how to opt out should be posted on the district web site in a prominent location - with a button on the front page stating "Military Recruitment Policy" or something to that effect. A sample opt out letter should be provided as well on the web site.

 Also, the policy and how to opt out should be posted on local cable bulletin boards.

 I fully understand that this policy is mandated by federal law and that you must comply or face severe financial penalties. I am not suggesting that the district refuse to comply and suffer the penalties, tax payers can not afford that hardship.

 However, nothing in the law states that the district needs to comply stealthily. In fact, it is a service to the parents of this district to let us know about the policy and about the proper methods of opting out.

 Finally, since you are forced to allow recruiters access to our children, I would like to work with you to provide alternatives - I can help arrange for speakers to come into the high school including Viet Nam veterans and Gulf War Veterans to speak to the children about some of the less pleasing sides to military enlistment. Our children should have an opportunity to hear such alternatives in the interest of making an informed decision and in promoting critical thinking.

 It is clear we are on the brink of a major war with the plan calling for a lengthy occupation of the nation of Iraq. There is no way to know just how many American GIs will perish there and how many more will be harmed physically, mentally and psychologically. While the law states you need to give recruiters access to our children, you owe it to our children and us parents to provide information about district policy and also to provide an alternative view to high school students so that they can make an informed choice if and when they are approached and in some cases, hounded by recruiters.

 Sincerely,

Mr. and Mrs. Parent