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keeping the military out of our elementary schools - Page 2

post #21 of 117
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
Did you see the actual presentation? or just hear about it secondhand?

I used to teach in a very liberal city school system, and the military was basically a non-entity for us at the middle school. One teacher's son joined the military, and he came and did a presentation about his work in her social studies class, and it was OK with me since the recruiters were not present. Lots of our school systems in my state have JROTC programs in their high schools.

I definitely understand your concern, I share many of your same worries, but I also know that for some of the students I worked with, the military was a great option for them, and one I would want them to be exposed to--since their other career plan was "be a professional basketball/football player" .

But, if you didn't see the presentation, i think you will have a harder time convincing the school board to not allow it again. What does your principal think now that the event is over? Would she allow them in again? (my former principal was former military himself, and he was very reluctant to bring the military in because he also had some of the same mixed feelings I did).
I didn't see the performance, but got accounts that match from a range of sources, including the school's principal. She has called the program's director and told him that the way the performance was used as a "recruitment vehicle" (her words, not mine) was inappropriate.
post #22 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by handspun View Post
yup, there is that minor detail!
Which shows uneducation in regards to the military.

Not all soldiers go to war. Not all soldiers support the war. Not all soldiers FIGHT in a war. Many do, yes. But it is a decision that they willingly make, whether you or I agree with it. But there are also many soldiers who serve the homefront and never set foot in war territory. They stay here to protect and serve our states.

In the sad state our schools are currently in with music, sports and other activities being cut out. I would be very thankful for a free concert that my children could attend that would possibly help them get interested in music, whether it was backed by the US military or not.
post #23 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
While I understand your concerns, I don't think that the performance was at all unreasonable. Although my school has never hosted an ROTC band, we have had a few military events. We have parents who have served in the military come in and read to children on Vetran's Day. During this time they also talk about their careers in the military. There is obvious pride and enjoyment in this exercise.

Although you obviously don't approve of the military or military careers, I don't see what happened at your school as indoctrination. It's simply an outreach group. I view it as akin to the assembly we had last year when professional sports team visited the school as a part of their spring tour. No, it's not strictly educational. But it was fun for the kids and it made them aware of what was going on in their state/community.

If the ROTC group wasn't actively recruiting, I don't think your complaints are going to get too far. I understand why you don't like it, but I don't think they should be prohibited from coming just because they're from a group that you don't like.
Exactly. I think that after a performance, some Q & A is going to happen. Children are going to be curious.
post #24 of 117
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
I guess I'm wondering what you expected when sending your child to school? My kid's exposed to all kinds of things at school that I wouldn't expose him to myself. Just because you don't find it ethical, doesn't mean other parents don't.
Really good question, and one that I have examined repeatedly over the past couple of years!
I guess I expect that the school's leadership will have a basic understanding of different families' value systems, and will attempt to be as respectful as possible when issues like these come up. And I guess that's my naivete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
Are you given notice for assemblies? We are and if it's something I don't want my child to see/hear/whatever, I keep him home that day.
We aren't even given notice for assemblies. This is part of a larger problem involving really poor school/home communication, and lack of funds for translation of forms and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
As for your vax analogy, we do have to deal with that, sort of. Our school offered the swine flu vax this year and we kept our kid home from school that day. We had not signed the consent form, but we felt we'd rather be safe than sorry (in case of an accidental dose) and kept him home. I wasn't about to lobby the school to not offer it since many parents felt their kids needed it. And that isn't my choice to make for anyone but my kids.
Sure, but I am guessing that your school did not host a musical event, replete with popular cartoon anthems, extolling the virtues of vaccinating.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
I really don't think you'll successfully keep the military out of schools.
I think that you are probably right. But as with many things, it is generally good practice to come to the bargaining table with what one wants. and than hopefully come to a mutually acceptable compromise.
post #25 of 117
And honestly, being in the military IS a cool job.

And while you feel that the socioeconomic climate of your school makes them key targets to recuiters, they are also a group that can benefit most from being in the military.

I do think that recruiting at this age is too young, but I don't think that outreach is a bad thing.
post #26 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by handspun View Post
Really? I'm having such a tough time seeing military enlistment and theater involvement as at all analogous!
And I am not saying that with any value judgment attachment, as seems to have a been a big positive for your family. One just strikes me as MAJOR life altering option with really big implications, the other not so much.
Actually, the chances are the child is more at the right age to make the decision to join a community theater. Aren't they?
So I am more concerned about that. They have time to decide about whether military is right for them.
post #27 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
Actually, the chances are the child is more at the right age to make the decision to join a community theater. Aren't they?
So I am more concerned about that. They have time to decide about whether military is right for them.
True. Community theatre needs children of all ages for different shows...the military doesn't accept anyone until age 18.
post #28 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah W View Post
And honestly, being in the military IS a cool job.

And while you feel that the socioeconomic climate of your school makes them key targets to recuiters, they are also a group that can benefit most from being in the military.

I do think that recruiting at this age is too young, but I don't think that outreach is a bad thing.
Couldn't disagree more to any of this.
post #29 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by handspun View Post
Two days ago, an ROTC group came to my 2nd grader's school and performed for the kids. Our principal insists that she accepted their offer because she thought it would be a nice musical assembly for the kids, and that she intended it as part of the school's enrichment program. The kids got renditions of the Simpsons theme song, the Sponge Bob anthem, and a song about the Air Force. Then the performers told everyone about why it's great to be in the armed services. This certainly does NOT qualify as enrichment in my book.
The bolded is the sticky part for me. Was it a regular Q&A? Many, many young children are filled with curiosity about the military, and I would find a general Q&A session to be entirely appropriate - just like if any other professional came into the school. On the other hand, was it actually a group of people standing up their after their performance trying to "sell" the kids on what's so great about being in the military? THAT would be completely unacceptable to me on many levels. Personal feelings about the military are irrelevant, I want my children, and all children to be able to go through elementary school exploring options and finding their own answers and making their own decisions unprompted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erinsmom1996 View Post
I really don't understand why it is so terrible for our children to be exposed to people in the military and the idea that it IS a career option. I personally feel like we should spend more time teaching our children to appreciate everything the people in our military have done and continue to do for us. The very military you are so dismissive of is part of the reason you can express your opinion here at to the school. I also disagree that military recruiters use predatory methods. No one HAS to join the military. It is voluntary so it is a choice people make. Yes, there are probably more lower income young adults that choose that as a career but that is their choice and the military can give them a lot of options in their future they might not otherwise have. I realize we all have our opinions on this subject but I just feel very strongly about it and I wish more people appreciated the fact that the military has and continues to be why we are a FREE NATION. You can teach your children whatever you wish. I have taught my daughter to honor and respect our military.
I personally know several people who have been blatently lied to in order to be recruited. There's a huge difference between supporting the military and not supporting the buracracy behind it, and please understand that some of us have great respect for the former while having issues with the latter.

OP I hesitate to say this but I suspect in the next couple of years you may be seeing a lot more military involvement in the schools. It's just a hunch on my part, but I clearly remember one of Obamas ideas was to have full community involvement from every American, and he was stressing military involvement pretty heavily. So far I can honestly say that he's moved forward pretty hard and fast with a lot of his campaign ideas, so it wouldn't surprise me to see this come about as well.
post #30 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by handspun View Post
And I have to say, the whole "it's not breaking any rules, so there is nothing you can do about it" tact kind of surprises me. This is all about access to my kid (by an entity that I find ethically problematic) without parental notification or consent. If we are dealing in terms of analogies here, my guess is that there would be a number of parents here who would feel that similar outreach by, say, formula companies or vaccine manufacturers to elementary school kids without parental notification or consent might be problematic. This kind of thing might even be a practice that a number of folks would ask to have discontinued, even if it didn't violate any existing rules, and wasn't meant brainwashing, and even if it included a musical number or two.
I agree that notification would be a good thing.

That said, school inherently introduces children to ideas and to expressions of those ideas. The curriculum will introduce ideas, literary heroes, etc. - not to mention the library. I think it's great that the arts curriculum includes performance. As with any curriculum, there will probably be elements that you appreciate and elements you don't.

Rather than treating it like they got access to your child without your permission I would try to remember that over the course of your child's schooling there will always be something that comes up that is a new or different idea. How you handle that with your child and with the school will teach your child a lot about how you value diverse ways of thinking and looking at the world.

I think it's always worth opening a dialogue with the school and requesting that they consider the balance - maybe what they need now is to get a radically peace-oriented group in.
post #31 of 117
We all have to deal with stuff our kids get exposed to at school. Sooner or later every child will meet with something that his/her family finds offensive, and usually we find out about it after the fact. Certainly you are within your rights to protest, but young people playing instruments for 10 minutes and speaking about “why it's great to be in the armed services” hardly damages a child. I get your point that it opens a door in their mind, but so does everything else they get exposed to. Imagine how non-mainstream religious parents feel, how vegetarian families have to cope, and so forth.

I find it most sensible to talk to the child about the message they got, what it means, and why we “don’t do that in our family.” The child builds a picture in their minds of the family value system and how to stand behind it themselves as they grow. I agree 2nd grade seems early, but I saw things even in K and 1st grade that needed pro-active damage control from me. I learned not to blow it out of proportion; if you don’t, the child won’t. It’s just an oddity to them.

BTW, I had this same conversation with my teen daughter just yesterday: that for many people of color, the military culture gives them respect that they don’t get elsewhere. They get more respect doing their jobs and walking across a military base in uniform than they get in low paying (with no benies) civilian jobs and walking down American streets. Nobody disses the Chief regardless of color, gender, height, or background. Rank is earned, not given. Schools around military bases are a mixing ground of children from all walks of life, and they mostly get along with each other. They take the same classes from the same teachers. They visit each other’s homes. The sergeant’s kid plays ball with the major’s kid and they are on the same teams, and the military personnel coach each other’s kids. It’s common for youngsters to be better educated and more widely traveled than their parents had been.

This is a far cry from what happens in poor neighborhoods with poor schools, few role models, no good jobs, and a lack of upward mobility. You might want to talk to military personnel who escaped poverty by joining the services before talking about “predation on poor kids.”
post #32 of 117
I don't think it is unreasonable for a band to play songs or for people to talk about why they love their jobs. Hopefully they will get exposure to other types of jobs people have and love as well since that is part of most social studies curricullums for young children. If a group of doctors offered to play songs and talk about their love for their jobs I am sure that they would have been just as happy to jump at the opportunity. Unfortunately that is not something that happens in the real world. It seems like all of the people that have steady employment and good jobs are the last people who would think of doing something interesting in front of kids to try to entice them into looking at their profession as a viable one. Kids are mostly left with the boring low paying ones to idolize like acting, dancing, being a mountain man, and military.
post #33 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7thDaughter View Post
We all have to deal with stuff our kids get exposed to at school. Sooner or later every child will meet with something that his/her family finds offensive, and usually we find out about it after the fact. Certainly you are within your rights to protest, but young people playing instruments for 10 minutes and speaking about “why it's great to be in the armed services” hardly damages a child. I get your point that it opens a door in their mind, but so does everything else they get exposed to. Imagine how non-mainstream religious parents feel, how vegetarian families have to cope, and so forth.

I find it most sensible to talk to the child about the message they got, what it means, and why we “don’t do that in our family.” The child builds a picture in their minds of the family value system and how to stand behind it themselves as they grow. I agree 2nd grade seems early, but I saw things even in K and 1st grade that needed pro-active damage control from me. I learned not to blow it out of proportion; if you don’t, the child won’t. It’s just an oddity to them.

BTW, I had this same conversation with my teen daughter just yesterday: that for many people of color, the military culture gives them respect that they don’t get elsewhere. They get more respect doing their jobs and walking across a military base in uniform than they get in low paying (with no benies) civilian jobs and walking down American streets. Nobody disses the Chief regardless of color, gender, height, or background. Rank is earned, not given. Schools around military bases are a mixing ground of children from all walks of life, and they mostly get along with each other. They take the same classes from the same teachers. They visit each other’s homes. The sergeant’s kid plays ball with the major’s kid and they are on the same teams, and the military personnel coach each other’s kids. It’s common for youngsters to be better educated and more widely traveled than their parents had been.

This is a far cry from what happens in poor neighborhoods with poor schools, few role models, no good jobs, and a lack of upward mobility. You might want to talk to military personnel who escaped poverty by joining the services before talking about “predation on poor kids.”
Very well written. Thank you for this.


OP, I agree that you need to look at this as a chance to discuss your family's POV with your child...not as a personal attack.
post #34 of 117
[QUOTE=SunshineJ;15305853]
I personally know several people who have been blatently lied to in order to be recruited. [QUOTE]

I don't think blatent lying is as common as you might think.

Everyone signs a contract upon entering the military. You can read it, go over it line by line, and ammend it before you sign it. The contract must be upheld by both parties.

I don't know how a lie could get someone to sign something they did not agree with.

I do think some kids get hyped up on what they think it is going to be like and are less impressed with reality. Are the recruiters the only to blame for this? No.

But, I think if anything the military needs to do more to paint a more realistic picture of the everyday soldier, sailer, airman, and marine. Not to offset the cinematic "guts and glory" "the military is awesome" view nessesarily, but rather to offset the "only poor uneducated minorities sign up just to get sent off and killed in Iraq and Afghanistan" opinion.

I think that what you described happening at your DC's school is one way of doing this.
post #35 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Can I ask a question? When I was in high school a model/acting scouting company came and set up a booth during lunch. They offered cards and a chance to win a free class. My parents were FURIOUS but okay when the military did the same thing. What are your feelings on that?
You didn't ask my opinion, but I will answer.

That would make me even angrier unless the principal had done some serious vetting of the company. Generally model/acting "scouts" are generally huge scams who prey on parents and children.

I would have been expected to be informed about the assembly before hand. I know that our school has military visitors for Veterans day and that is about it (unless you want to count the boy scouts who I actually complained about visiting last year--- different story, though, I will explain if wanted). I have watched the assembly and decided I am comfortable with my kids participating (one year they even had a slideshow of students' relatives who were or had been in the military and my kids had the most relatives up of anyway) but I would at least want to know.

OP, do you have time to volunteer? Could you perhaps start some type of communication structure. If you could get parents email addys and send school info there, then parents w/out computer access could get paper copies and the school would use a lot less paper than if everyone needed a copy.
post #36 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by handspun View Post
Really good question, and one that I have examined repeatedly over the past couple of years!
I guess I expect that the school's leadership will have a basic understanding of different families' value systems, and will attempt to be as respectful as possible when issues like these come up. And I guess that's my naivete.

Sure, but I am guessing that your school did not host a musical event, replete with popular cartoon anthems, extolling the virtues of vaccinating.
But the school has to cater to everyone's background and belief. I doubt all the parents feel exactly the same way about everything. And that while you may be unhappy about this, many parents probably don't feel the same way. So what do they do? As I said before, I'd push to get notification about these things, which just seems like a good basic idea to save themselves from any backlash from parents.

My example about the vax was the closest thing we've come to something like you're talking about. It was just an example, obviously not a good one, and while they didn't have cartoons, there were plenty of people pushing it.
post #37 of 117
[QUOTE=ellemenope;15306149][QUOTE=SunshineJ;15305853]
I personally know several people who have been blatently lied to in order to be recruited.
Quote:

I don't think blatent lying is as common as you might think.
I agree with this. When you do your swearing in, they repeatedly ask you to go over your contract and actually walk you through it line by line and ask repeatedly to please bring let them know if you were told ANYTHING that wasn't written in the contract or if anything doesn't match up.
post #38 of 117
[QUOTE=ellemenope;15306149][QUOTE=SunshineJ;15305853]
I personally know several people who have been blatently lied to in order to be recruited.
Quote:

I don't think blatent lying is as common as you might think.

Everyone signs a contract upon entering the military. You can read it, go over it line by line, and ammend it before you sign it. The contract must be upheld by both parties.
I know that some tall tales may be told, but you are also repeatedly informed at MEPS that if is not in your contract it didn't happen; you also pretty much initial every other sentence in the contract.

It was in my contract that if the job I picked became unavailable, I had the option of being released from my contract--it wasn't just the recruiter's word.
post #39 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by handspun View Post
I didn't see the performance, but got accounts that match from a range of sources, including the school's principal. She has called the program's director and told him that the way the performance was used as a "recruitment vehicle" (her words, not mine) was inappropriate.
then, I am not sure you need to do much more. The principal was unhappy, she expressed her concern to the program director, and is highly unlikely to bring them in again. Unless your school board specifically has a policy that prevents the principal from using her discretion about assemblies, the easiest way to make sure this doesn't happen again is probably to leave it alone. the path of least resistance is often the easiest. if you make a big deal out of it, you are likely to attract the attention of people who disagree with you and the principal, and will work to ensure full, unfettered access.

I used to be the union president and learned early that asking for policy can often backfire, and it is best to trust the good intentions of the decision makers until they prove otherwise.
post #40 of 117
Back in the early 80's in Georgia .. we used to get a "puppet show for Jesus" come around to the schools. I sat through it for years until high school when I literally took on the principal to point out how unfair it was to the godless, like me and the jesusless, like my Jewish friend. The puppets still came, but anyone who didn't want to see it could go hang in the library. I won a great victory that day.Can you see why I left the South?

BTW, many countries around the world have a mandatory service requirements. You are lucky the U.S. isn't one of them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_service
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