SMPA Statement on Military
Recruitment at CHS
S MOUNTAIN PEACE ACTION STATEMENT ON MILITARY RECRUITMENT @ COLUMBIA HS
(1) Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act
(a) requires high schools to provide student contact information to military recruiters unless students or parents request in writing that the school not do so and
(b) requires high schools to give military recruiters the same access they give to colleges and employers (at CHS this means college fairs and job fairs).
(c) threatens schools with loss of federal funding if its terms are not complied with
(2) CHS has been providing parents/guardians with a Refusal form to enable them to block the release of their children's information to the military. To enhance students' and parents' rights under Section 9528, SMPA has made the following recommendations:
a) In accordance with Section 9528, the Refusal form should be revised to allow students as well as parents/guardians to block release of contact information to the military without parental consent.
b) CHS should adopt a policy of following up with parents who do not return the Refusal form.
c) CHS guidance counselors should hand out to students and discuss with them "Ten Points to Consider Before You Sign a Military Enlistment Agreement," a document prepared by the American Friends Service Committee.
(3) In light of recent news reports   that some military recruiters have resorted to deception and other abuses due to the increased difficulty of meeting their quotas, SMPA recommends that Guidance Counselors routinely interview students who have spoken with recruiters to determine whether such abuses are taking place at CHS. Any indications of such abuse should be immediately reported to the CHS Principal and the Board of Education.
(4) SMPA will stay in touch with the CHS administration to keep abreast of the status of the measures suggested above.
(5) SMPA does not question the right of the military to engage in recruitment activities among students whose parents approve such activities. Despite our opposition to policies which the military and its personnel are forced to carry out, we respect the military as an institution and we respect and appreciate those who wish to enlist.
But because there is so much at stake, we want to be assured that the rights of Columbia parents who do not want their children to be solicited by the military are protected, that all parents and students are given the opportunity to opt-out of the program if they so desire, and that students who choose to enlist do so on the basis of complete and accurate information on the commitment they are undertaking.
SMPA supports the Student Privacy bill introduced by Rep. Mike Honda of California that would change the requirement for parents to "opt-in" rather than "opt-out" in order for schools to send student contact information to military recruiters.
APPENDIX (1): SMPA'S PROGRAM: OPPOSE THE WAR, SUPPORT THE TROOPS
SMPA engages in activities to educate and mobilize public opinion to promote peaceful alternatives to military action and military spending.
For the last two and a half years, SMPA activities have focused on preventing and ending the war against Iraq. Our activities have included: initiating the Maplewood Township resolution against the war; gathering signatures on petitions and presenting those petitions to our Senators and Congressmen; demonstrating against the war and occupation; distributing literature; writing letters; hosting public forums and other events; and producing and distributing candidate surveys in the recent local elections in South Orange and Maplewood to educate the electorate about the candidates' views on peace issues such as local costs of the Iraq war and on the Patriot Act.
During this two and a half year period, SMPA has distributed more than 1,200 lawn signs in Maplewood and South Orange, which display the message: "Be About Peace." SMPA has thus not only helped promote a culture of peace in our community, but has made peace a visible part of our community's landscape.
SMPA, has made it clear that while we oppose the administration's war, we do NOT oppose the military or its personnel. To the contrary, we have emphasized our support for the soldiers, in particular our support for their safe and rapid return home from Iraq with adequate health care and other benefits.
APPENDIX (2): THE CRISIS IN MILITARY RECRUITMENT
In recent months, US military recruitment efforts have fallen short of their goals by up to 40%. This crisis in military recruitment stems from a growing awareness among young adults that the war and occupation of Iraq is based on false premises and has resulted in massive loss of life and permanent injury, human rights abuses and enormous financial costs. 1,700 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and 13,000 wounded, and the cost of the war and occupation are approaching $300 billion.
The crisis in military recruitment can be understood as the result of a rational response by young adults to the failed and misguided mission that the military has been required to carry out.
APPENDIX (3): SMPA OPPOSES THE PENTAGON'S PRIVATE MARKETING OF MILITARY RECRUITMENT
To cope with the crisis in military recruitment, the Washington Post reported on June 23, 2005 that the Pentagon has hired a private marketing firm to develop a massive database of high school and college students, using information collected via Section 9528, as well as from drivers' license information, information from information brokers and other sources of information already held by the Pentagon. The information will include data on grades, ethnicity and what subjects students are studying. SMPA opposes this policy as a violation of students' privacy rights as well as a degradation of the military recruitment process into a commercialized marketing process.
APPENDIX (4): ACLU-NJ List of Resources on Military Recruitment