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How to Counter Recruitment and De-Militarize Schools

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David Swanson -

Raging GrannysU.S. military recruiters are teaching in public school classrooms, making presentations at school career days, coordinating with JROTC units in high schools and middle schools, volunteering as sports coaches and tutors and lunch buddies in high, middle, and elementary schools, showing up in humvees with $9,000 stereos, bringing fifth-graders to military bases for hands-on science instruction, and generally pursuing what they call "total market penetration" and "school ownership."

But counter-recruiters all over the United States are making their own presentations in schools, distributing their own information, picketing recruiting stations, and working through courts and legislatures to reduce military access to students and to prevent military testing or the sharing of test results with the military without students' permission. This struggle for hearts and minds has had major successes and could spread if more follow the counter-recruiters' example.

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Why Is My Kindergartner Being Groomed for the Military at School?

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Sarah Grey, Truthout | Report

Killer KidsWhen he got home from Iraq, Hart Viges began sorting through his boyhood toys, looking for some he could pass on to his new baby nephew. He found a stash of G.I. Joes - his old favorites - and the memories came flooding back.

"I thought about giving them to him," he said. But the pressures of a year in a war zone had strengthened Viges' Christian faith, and he told the Army that "if I loved my enemy I couldn't see killing them, for any reason." He left as a conscientious objector. As for the G.I. Joes, "I threw them away instead." Viges had grown up playing dress-up with his father's, grandfather's and uncles' old military uniforms. "What we tell small kids has such a huge effect," he told Truthout. "I didn't want to be the one telling him to dream about the military."

As the mother of a 6-year-old, I know what he means. My partner and I, as longtime antiwar activists, work hard to talk to our daughter about war, violence and peace in age-appropriate ways.

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SkoolLive - School Jive - A new, interactive digital invasion of our high schools by corporations and the military

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Pat Elder -

High school students line up to use the new SkoolLive kiosks

For years DOD recruiting commanders have attempted to circumvent student privacy protections that are designed to shield minors from the wholesale transfer of student information from the nation's high schools to the Pentagon's Military Entrance Processing Command.

The DOD markets "career opportunities" through the schools, relying on a variety of methods, from Channel One, a 12-minute, highly commercialized, daily TV program that reaches as many as 5 million children a day, to various posters and announcements touting military service or other schemes like the Career Exploration Program. For the most part, however, these outreach efforts ultimately rely on the schools as a third party from which to extract student data. Until now, the DOD's quest for greater access to children has been somewhat stymied by pesky state and federal laws that regulate the flow of student information from the schools.

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Debate: Military recruiting in public schools

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Should the military be allowed to recruit in public schools?

High School Military Recruitment DebateWith the USA and its allies involved in 2 major conflicts in recent years, military recruitment has become an important issue. But some parents and teachers have protested about military personnel visiting schools to talk to students about the armed forces. This often happened in the past anyway, but since 2002 the No Child Left Behind Act has meant that US schools which receive government money must allow the military in to talk to students. In the UK between a third and half of all new military recruits are under 18, with many joining after meeting serving personnel at their schools. This has led the British National Union of Teachers to pass a motion in 2008 condemning military recruitment in schools. One of the more common proposals is to ban military recruiting of those that are under 18 (the age at which individuals can join the military usually), which would severely limit the ability of recruiters to operate in high schools.

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2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth

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CMOY & NNOMY Team up for the 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth

The National Call to Save Civilian Public Education is participating with other actions for the 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth.

National Call: Save Our Civilian Public Education

Over the last several decades, the Pentagon,conservative forces, and corporations have been systematically working to expand their presence in the K-12 learning environment and in public universities. The combined impact of the military, conservative think tanks and foundations,  and of corporatization of our public educational systems has eroded the basic democratic concept of civilian public education.   It is a trend that, if allowed to continue, will weaken the primacy of civilian rule and, ultimately, our country’s commitment to democratic ideals.

The signers of this statement believe it is urgent for all advocates of social justice, peace and the environment to recognize the dangerous nature of this problem and confront it with deliberate action. See the entire National Call at http://save civilianeducation.org

International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth

Militaries across the world gain access to young people through education systems.It gives them an extraordinary chance to shape every generation's perception of military violence and lay the groundwork for future recruitment. See all the participating organizations worldwide at http://antimili-youth.net

Share the hashtags #SaveCivilianEducation and #YouthAgainstWar on social media and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for further updates.

Here is the list of events happening this week.
http://www.antimili-youth.net/articles/2015/11/week-action-against-militarisation-youth-events-happening-week

Do Military Recruiters Belong in Schools?

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By Seth Kershner & Scott Harding -

—GettyThe United States stands alone among Western nations in allowing military recruiters to work inside its educational system. Section 9528 of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act requires that public high schools give the military as much access to campuses and student contact information as is given to any other recruiter. However, University of Kansas anthropologist Brian Lagotte finds that school officials do not fully understand this policy and often provide military recruiters unrestricted access to their campuses. Many schools allow military recruiters to coach sports, serve as substitute teachers, chaperone school dances, and engage in other activities. In some cases, recruiters are such a regular presence in high schools that students and staff regard them as school employees.

The military does not advertise what it is doing in public schools. But for the past four years, we have been researching those who make it their business to closely monitor the actions of military personnel in schools: parents, students, military veterans, and citizens affiliated with the grassroots "counter recruitment" movement. Many of them told us that state education commissioners, district superintendents, school principals, and other policymakers react with surprise at their efforts to rid schools of the undue influence of military personnel. In fact, most public officials are unaware of the extent of the military's presence in education settings and the ways in which the Pentagon can access private data about high school students. Until now, there has been a lack of hard data describing the extent of military involvement in schools.

Last year, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the U.S. Army provided us with documents about recruiter activities in Connecticut high schools during the 2011-12 academic year.

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Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools

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Scott Harding, Seth Kershner -

ISBN9781137515254
Publication DateSeptember 2015
FormatsHardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF)
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools"This book brilliantly dissects not only the militarization of schools in the United States but also offers a systemic approach to forms of counter-recruitment. Not content to simply condemn military recruitment of students, the book offers parents and others a ray of hope in developing a language, strategies, and policies that can end this pernicious militarizing of schools and the recruitment of young people into America's ever expanding war machine. A must-read book for fighting back against militarized pedagogies and strategies of repression." - Henry Giroux, McMaster University, Canada, author of The Violence of Organized Forgetting (2013)

"What does sustainable anti-militarization look like? Who does it—and how? This fascinating book pulls back two curtains, first on how American high schools are being steadily militarized, and second, on how thoughtful, committed local counter-recruitment activists are rolling back that militarizing process, school by school, town by town. For any of us in critical security studies, American studies, peace studies, education, or women's and gender studies, this is a genuinely valuable book." - Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War (2010)

The United States is one of the only developed countries to allow a military presence in public schools, including an active role for military recruiters. In order to enlist 250,000 new recruits every year, the US military must market itself to youth by integrating itself into schools through programs such as JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps), and spend billions of dollars annually on recruitment activities. This militarization of educational space has spawned a little-noticed grassroots resistance: the small, but sophisticated, "counter-recruitment" movement. This book describes the various tactics used in counter-recruitment, drawing from the words of activists and case studies of successful organizing and advocacy. Counter-recruiters visit schools to challenge recruiters' messages with information on non-military career options; activists work to make it harder for the military to operate in public schools; they conduct lobbying campaigns for policies that protect students' private information from military recruiters; and, counter-recruiters mentor youth to become involved in these activities. While attracting little attention, counter-recruitment has nonetheless been described as "the military recruiter's greatest obstacle" by a Marine Corps official.

Source: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/counterrecruitment-and-the-campaign-to-demilitarize-public-schools-scott-harding/?isb=9781137515254


Scott Harding is Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Social Work, University of Connecticut, USA. He has extensive advocacy and organizing experience on issues of homelessness, affordable housing, welfare, community development, and transnational labor solidarity. He was Executive Director and Policy Coordinator for the California Homeless & Housing Coalition, USA. He is a Board Member of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), and former Editor of The Journal of Community Practice.

Seth Kershner is an independent writer and researcher whose primary focus is the US military's growing presence in public schools. His work has appeared in a number of academic journals and books, as well as popular outlets such as In These Times, Rethinking Schools, and Sojourners, among others. Kershner currently works as a reference librarian at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, USA.

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America’s Tween Soldiers

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Seth Kershner -

August Say, 12, holds out his arm to determine where he should stand in class in the new Dragon Leadership Corps at his middle school in Bowling Green, Ohio. Last year, Henry F. Moss Middle School in Bowling Green, Ohio, offered students a brand new course. And, as a headline in the local newspaper proclaimed, this was “not your traditional class.” For starters, the teacher—an army sergeant—had told the Bowling Green Daily News that one of his goals was to expose these seventh- and eighth-graders to “military values” that they could use as “building blocks” in life. To that end, students in the class earn military style ranks, engage in army-style “PT” (physical training) and each Wednesday, wear camouflage pants and boots.

This is the Moss Middle School Leadership Corps, part of the growing trend of military-style education for pre-adolescents.

Middle school military programs are younger cousins of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), a Pentagon program taught by retired military officers and present in more than 3,500 high schools nationwide. Although there are strong similarities with JROTC— military-style uniforms, close-order drills, a curriculum that emphasizes patriotism and military history—the key difference is that JROTC is supported by federal funds and middle school military programs are not, by federal law. That means the continued existence of the middle school programs depends on state or district funding and, in some cases, charitable contributions.

Although the localized nature of the programs and the variety of names they go by—most commonly “leadership corps” or “cadet corps”—make them difficult to quantify, a review of programs by In These Times in more than a dozen states found that there are at least 97 public middle schools currently offering military-style education.

Read more on In These Times

Halt the military invasion of Catholic schools

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By Pat Elder -

Image: Flickr photo cc by Debra SweetDuring the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004, 1st Lt. Jesse A. Grapes saved the lives of three wounded marines in his platoon by entering a burning house, where he encountered the enemy soldier who had been firing at his troops. Six years later Grapes was named headmaster of Benedictine College Preparatory, a Catholic military school in Richmond, Virginia. The June 2010 issue of the school’s newspaper, The New Chevron, called Grapes a “patriotic war hero.”

In describing Grapes’ Iraq War exploits, Benedictine’s student newspaper dismissed the fact he was accused of ordering marines under his command to shoot four captured prisoners. Grapes refused to talk to government investigators, citing his Fifth Amendment rights.

It’s quite a lesson for students at Benedictine, which is kind of a poster child for the modern militarized Catholic school. Every year Benedictine requires all juniors to take the military entrance exam. The school operates an Army JROTC program and has a student organization that teaches students how to use small arms. Of course, these are expected activities in a military school. The question is whether these activities are appropriate in a Catholic school.

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NNOMY Reader

Tooltip Learning the Issues about Youth Demilitarization

NNOMY ReaderThe NNOMY Reader is a useful primer to learn about the realities of military recruitment, the militarism effecting our youth in schools and our opportunities for peaceful coexistance. This collection of articles represents a historical overview of the U.S. based counter-recruitment movement's strategies to inform and intervene in schools and the community about the Pentagon's multi-billion dollar programs to recruit America's youth into escalating wars. The NNOMY Reader also includes some information on alternatives to enlistment, as well as research presented by activists and investigators on the nature and risks of cultural militarization and how it  threatens our democracy. Learn more

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ADDICTED To WAR

comixADDICTED To WAR takes on the most active, powerful and destructive military in the world. It tells the history of U.S. foreign wars - from the Indian Wars to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - in a comic book format.

DMZ: A Guide

DMZ GuideGet connected to youth counter recruitment activists all over the country. Check out DMZ: A Guide to Taking Your School Back from the Military an organizing guide for high school students interested in keeping the military out of our schools. We offer counter recruitment workshops and trainings for students, activists, and educators on a regular basis. Email wrl@warresisters.org for more information. From Ya-Ya Network & War Resisters League

Demilitarizing Life & Land

FOR Life & LandThe Fellowship of Reconciliation pursues a vision of a free and “demilitarized” world in which the Earth’s resources sustain life and promote the well-being of all people. To do so, we challenge economic exploitation, work to eradicate racism and religious intolerance, and call attention to imperialistic U.S. foreign policy. As we continue to speak truth to power, FOR engages in an ongoing interfaith dialogue to shift the collective unconscious from a fear-based military culture to a peaceful world community grounded in faith and nonviolent justice. At the start of 2011, we launched a series of projects, campaigns, and collaborations to demilitarize life and land in the Americas and the Middle East.

What Every Girl Should Know About the US Military

What Every Girl Should Know About the US MilitaryWhat Every Girl Should Know About the US Military/
Lo Que Toda Chica Debe Saber Sobre la Milicia de EE.UU.

Written for girls, queer and trans youth, youth of color and poor youth, this newly redesigned full-color What Every Girl Should Know About the U.S. Military brochure is focused on sexual & gender-based violence: perfect for distributing at schools & community centers. Available in English and in Spanish: Lo Que Toda Chica Debe Saber Sobre la Milicia de EE.UU. - by War Resisters' League

Know Before You Go, 'Cause There's No Reset Button

wrl_yaya_pampletKnow Before You Go, 'Cause There's No Reset Button is a collaboration with the Ya-Ya Network (Youth Activists-Youth Allies), a youth of color-led antimilitarist organization based in NYC.

Our leaflet breaks down the enlistment contract and life in the military and provides new stats about sexual assault in the military, racial disparities in becoming an officer, and stop-loss.

Written to be accessible to everyone while providing the most important info for making a fully informed choice about joining the military, this leaflet will be a staple for counter-recruiters.

See Details and Download

Available at War Resisters League

Hollywood Warfare: How the Pentagon Censors the Movies

Thinking of joining the U.S. Military to gain citizenship?

¿PENSANDO EN ALISTARTE PARA OBTENER LA CIUDADANÍA ESTADOUNIDENSE?"¿PIENSAS QUE EL ENROLARTE EN LAS FUERZAS ARMADAS TE GARANTIZA LA CIUDADANIA?"
intended for non-citizens looking to join the military for immigration benefits, to let them know what to be aware of immigration-wise before approaching a recruiter.
Print Size: 8½ x 14 (double sided)
(Designed to be printed with Spanish and English back-to-back)

Homepage: http://www.projectyano.org

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