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A "Trojan Horse" for Recruiters
The Pentagon has used the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act as a Trojan Horse to propagandize vulnerable teenage students, invade their privacy, harass them, and get them to enlist. Passage of the NCLB in 2001 has given Pentagon recruiters "unprecedented access to public high schools and to students' personal information" and has "changed the landscape of military recruitment in public high schools across the U.S.," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) charges.
Section 9528 of NCLB not only permits recruiters to obtain students' personal information without prior parental consent, but guarantees them access to public high schools without parental consent. As such, NCLB violates Article 3 of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty ratified by the Senate.
"Recruiters use the lists of students' names and contact information provided pursuant to the NCLB to cold-call students for hours each day," the ACLU has found, adding that the military is targeting "poor students and students of color…. Public schools serve as prime recruiting grounds for the military and the U.S. military's generally accepted procedures for recruitment of high school students plainly violate the Optional Protocol," the ACLU says.
School districts that want to get federal funds under Section 9528 of NCLB must provide recruiters with student information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers. While NCLB allows parents to "opt out" of providing the information, "many school districts do not have a clear process in place by which to do this," the ACLU says, and don't inform parents of this option.
The situation was brought to light in a 46-page ACLU report titled "Soldiers of Misfortune." Many parents are shaken to learn of the recruiters' sweeping powers. One parent of a first year student in a New York high school told the civil liberties group: "When I was informed about NCLB and the opt-out provision, I was stunned. I would never have known that my child was open to this type of recruitment or that (recruiters) would be getting our information…. I don't like the idea that somebody would be contacting him independent of me, especially at such a young and vulnerable age."
A joint survey by the ACLU and the Manhattan Borough president's office of nearly 1,000 students in 45 high schools found that 2 in 5 respondents did not get a military opt-out form at the start of the 2006-07 academic year, in violation of city guidelines. Of those that did receive them, more than a third said nobody from their school explained the form to them or told them of their right to withhold personal information from the recruiters.
In Edison, New Jersey, Andrew Arnaldi, a high school senior, said a recruiter contacted him even after he filed an opt-out letter and "mocked his pacifist views." In East Los Angeles, Sam Coleman, the father of a Fountain Valley high school student, said despite his request to the school district not to do so, they turned over information to the recruiters. His son was called several times and got frequent mailings. Coleman said, "For all I know his information could be floating around in any number of databases."
ACLU surveys in Arizona and Rhode Island also turned up evidence that school districts statewide either were doing a poor job of informing parents of the opt-out procedure or not protecting the privacy rights of students in interactions with military recruiters. One military recruiter in Los Angeles reportedly does push-ups with students during physical education classes and distributes key chains, T-shirts, and posters in the lunch room reading "Think of Me as Your New Guidance Counselor."
The ACLU says such activities constitute recruitment and that the Army's recruiting handbook does not advise recruiters to limit their activities to youths aged 17 and over as required by the Protocol. "Instead, recruiters are encouraged to target the entire high school population, grooming prospective recruits as early as possible," the ACLU says.
Sherwood Ross, a journalist, is currently director of a public relations firm for non-profit organizations.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.