David Swanson -
To: Sandy Husk
Salem-Keizer Superintendent of Schools
I would like to file a complaint about the manner in which my classmate and I were removed from what we were told was a mandatory test known as the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). The staff member known as 1st Sergeant in our school is the one whom removed us from the test. During our removal we caused no disruption. The only disruption was caused by the manner in which 1st Sergeant removed us. When we explained we chose to opt out by voiding the test due to its military connection 1st Sergeant informed us as did an administration member Vice Principle Rolland Hayden, that the ASVAB is in no way related to the military. This by itself is a lie.
The whole test is administered and staffed by military members you may also refer to the link provided below about the so called ASVAB. (http://www.comdsd.org/article_archive/Military%20Testing%20in%20Schools%20Dealt%20Setback1-10.html)
When I started the test I asked two staff members if I could opt out of this test. I was told I had to take the test, students including myself were told it was mandatory.
The data that is collected from these tests is used by the military for “marketing advertising”, when I asked several staff members what this meant none of them were clear and one staff member said that “marketing advertising” is simply information collected by the military for research. I was told that I had to sign the release form even though I did not understand or agree with it.
When the test began my classmate and I, who also did not agree with nor want to participate in this test, decided to just randomly choose answers to the questions-the 1st Sergeant was walking around the room and when he came past my classmate and I he saw that we were just making random choices on the test and in a very loud and angry voice said “You two need to come with me you are wasting my time!” He removed us from the testing area (gym full of other students) and as we were walking out through a hallway I asked him “Are we in trouble?” and he responded in a very rude and intimidating tone “Why? Are you scared?” Since he didn’t give me a direct answer to my question and due to his rude and intimidating manner I stated my belief that I felt “it was against my constitutional rights to be forced to take a military test which I felt was not appropriate for a public school environment.” The 1st Sergeant laughed, mocking us and making remarks about our knowledge of our constitutional rights. He then said us in the presence of a member of the school administration and loud enough for other staff members to hear “What do you know about constitutional rights when you haven’t fought for this country?” To my understanding staff is not allowed nor is it condoned by administration to belittle students, especially in this way. I think it is outrageous that the Vice Principal as well as other school staff allowed this behavior and treatment of students. We were not being disrespectful or disruptive, we simply “questioned” our right to “opt” out of taking a test that is not relative to our curriculum, and that is military sponsored.
In my past experiences attending schools within the Salem-Keizer School District I have never personally experienced or witnessed other classmates being subject to such belittling, intimidating and/or effort to degrade a student by staff, administration or other person which might be considered an authoritive figure. What message does this send to the students at our school if staff, administration etc. are allowed to treat students in this manner? I would like to again reiterate that neither my classmate nor I did or said anything to provoke this “personal attack” of our character by the 1st Sergeant.
As an informed student, I was aware of a student’s option to “opt” out of taking such tests without repercussion however, staff members did not offer this to students at any point prior to testing and if you were to ask students that were part of the ASVAB testing today I believe the majority, if not all of them would tell you they felt as though they had no other choice but to take the test as directed by staff.
At this time, I am requesting an apology from the 1st Sergeant for his inappropriate and unprofessional behavior toward myself and my classmate. In addition, I would like the School District to adopt a policy of providing all students, and staff members with better information regarding testing and a student’s right to opt out of taking not curriculum based tests, especially those that are sponsored by outside sources. Apparently the school sent a letter to parents to inform them of this test. However it is not just up to the legal guardian of the student but also the student as to whether or not they must take a test given by an outside source especially the military. In addition, I would like a written warning to be given to and placed into the personnel record of Vice Principal Rolland Hayden for his action of condoning 1st Sergeants inappropriate treatment of students.
Cc: School Board Members
North High Principal
I remember this entire test was staffed by a few staff members and many military members who were in uniform. The next day after this event I was informed by another student that when 1st Sergeant came back into the testing area he made mocking comments to a man in a military uniform. The student being a friend of ours told 1st Sargent that it was unprofessional to be talking about students in that manner. 1st Sargent said "It's my opinion". I also was told by many others that after the test was over anyone who didn't sign the test waver in the test booklet were told that they had to sign it. This is a gross use of intimidation by military members in public schools.