Thursday, March 24, 2005

Rev. Gerry: Military recruiting

Good morning, everyone,

I can’t send the article below without relating a personal story. I may convert it to an open letter and send to the Star, after I talk with the young man involved.

Darwin and I have two boys, 14 and 15 years old, who are freshmen at CDO high school. We have, of course, signed the forms withholding information on them from the recruiters. If recruiters were on campus recruiting for a religious or "partisan" cause, they would be thrown out, but it is approved to try to sway young minds to think war is good. Regarding another school shooting this week, I have to say I just can’t imagine how immature youngsters this same age make the mental leap that becoming their own military is an answer to somethng that makes them mad...

Last Saturday, in front of the recruiters office on the 2nd anniversary of the start of the war, one of our boys told us that military recruiters had recently been in his sign language class to promote military service, and they asked all the students to fill out “survey” forms that included their names and addresses. Fortunately, we discuss these things as a family, our boys know we have withheld their information, and they come with us to events such as Eyes Wide Open, the Iraq war memorial sponsored by AFSC. When he, knowing our wishes and believing was is “stupid,” refused to fill out the survey or give personal information, the recruiter scolded him for not turning in the survey, gave him “dirty look,” and asked him if he did not support his country! BAH! None of the other kids had even given the hour a second thought, accustomed to unquestioning trust in the authority of the school.

I am deeply grieved that innocent children, and yes they ARE children at this age, trusting their teachers to guide them, are subjected to military propaganda – without our consent or even knowledge. I am interested in joining with others who believe another side needs to be given to the kids and suggest they serve their country in other ways.

In peace, gerry
Rev. Gerry Straatemeier, MSW
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From Alternet:
Military Recruiting 101

Exerpt: Under the No Child Left Behind legislation, Sec 9528, education funding in America has been turned into a recruiting tool for our military! Buried in this legislation is a section that mandates student's private information be given directly to the military unless the student's parent or guardian opts their records out – meaning that a request letter from the parent or guardian must be submitted to the school to keep the student's records private.

To compensate for students' greater understanding of the risks associated with military service, recruiters have implemented more and more predatory practices to meet their required numbers. That is why this personal information is so valuable to these desperate recruiters trying to meet the demand of the current U.S. war machine.

We must make sure our schools comply with requests to keep an individual's information private while fighting for changes in the heinous legislation that allowed this invasion of privacy to happen in the first place. But it will take an enormous campaign and a huge amount of effort to educate people on how invasive this act is! Help keep our military a true volunteer force, our students safe, and their information private – spread the word in your community about what is happening to students' personal information!

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