August 20, 2007

Honoring One of Paul Mann's Passions

Rights of Using Student Information Clarified by the NEA

At this year's NEA RA, Andy Griggs--our new national chair--spoke on behalf of an NEA New Business Item #49 to clarify the NEA's postion on recruiters using our schools as "open books" for the recruiting of our students.

Personal information has been provided to them in the past. Trends show that recruiting tends to be more successful with low-income and disadvantaged students in our schools. Of course, these are the same students that are sent to fight the war in Iraq.

The item which passed now aligns the NEA's position to a current national sentiment that says students and their families must OPT IN.
The Peace and Justice Caucus has worked to change this for a great deal of time. We celebrated a victory on this issue at the RA with the adoption of NB#49.
Adopted as Modified

Using existing communication vehicles (including NEA Today, This Active Life, and the NEA website) the NEA will publish an update on the issue of military recruitment in schools and the progress of NEA supported legislation that would protect parents’ right to withhold their child’s personal information from military recruiters. HR 1346, the Honda Opt-In Amendment, would allow parents to release their child’s information but it would not be automatic.

Long-time friend and Peace & Justice Midwest Director, Tom Wolfe shares a short note of thanks below these links. Tom does a great job of sharing our thanks with Andy and all of you who have helped us protect our students from abuse by invasive military recruiting practices.


In January of 2006--when our blog was an infant--Andrew Rasmussen offer this article: "Opt Out...How to Get the Military Off Our Students' Backs"

Our Article in August 2006 reported on this: Guess Who's Not Fighting These Wars?!?! Absence of America's Upper Classes From the Military

This Peace & Justice post from this May of 2007 addresses our concerns with the practice.

Dear Midwest P&J members,

A nice thing occurred this summer at the NEA Rep Assembly in Philadelphia which I should have mentioned far earlier but neglected to do so. Towards the end of the Assembly, Andy Griggs, who would be elected our national chair a day or two later, used his time at the microphone to invoke the name of the recently deceased Paul Mann, our past national chair and treasurer. He mentioned that Paul had been a great proponent of the Opt Out program which has given high school students the option of avoiding the pressures of military recruiting while in high school if that is their wish. I mention all this because it was very nice of Andy to do so, and because I should have said something myself. After all, I was a super close friend of his, yet I said nothing. For that gesture, may the wind be always at Andy's back.

Tom Wolfe
Midwest P&J Director

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