NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND - RESISTING MILITARY RECRUITMENT
The following was published in the Princeton Packet on December 24, 2002.
Bergen Action Coalition is doing some excellent work to oppose military recruitment. Visit their site today: http://www.bergernaction.net
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.
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.
I have just learned of the No Child Left Behind Act provisions requiring school districts to share private personal information on children with military recruireters. 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.
Mr. and Ms. Parent