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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Teens and the Military
Greetings - we just collected the mail, and found an over- sized folded mailer from the Marines, addressed to my 16- year-old sophomore son, inviting him to ''protect America's future'' and to ''call on a friend to defend with you.'' WHAT?! So here are my questions: how did he get on this mailing list, are schools and/ore testing sites required by law to provide this information to the Department of Defense (or other agency), is there any way to get off this mailing list, how long will we continue to get these mailings? My son is as likely to go into the military as I am likely to become a neuro-surgeon, but it's still a curious thing and I find myself interested to know a little more about this whole aspect of the government's involvement in his young life. Heading to Canada like in the old days if need be
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) contains a provision that says that high schools that receive federal money- so, basically, public schools- must turn student home contact information over to military recruiters and give access to military recruiters to students in schools or risk loosing federal funding!
This is just one of the ways military recruiters get student information from schools. Another common way is when students take the ASVAB. ASVAB is the Armed FOrces Vocational Aptitude Battery, given to recruits as a placement test, and is marketed in high schools as a free career test. But this is a primary recruiting tool, and unless the district chooses option 8 and withholds student information, it is send to military recruiters.
When military recruiters come to schools, they often offer climbing walls or challenges to do a number of pushups, but get the students' signatures and use that to recruit. And it isn't only mailings: recruiters will call, and even show up at a house.
And, of course, JROTC in high schools is a ready made source of contacts.
Lastly, kid's names are everywhere, and those lists are sold. Driver's license applications, SATs- a lot of this information makes its way to the military through the web and through the Joint Advertising Market Research and Studies (JAMRS) http://www.jamrs.org/, where military recruiters work with marketing firms to get student information.
There is some good news. NCLB also says that parents and students have the choice to opt out of having student information sent to military recruiters, and schools are supposed to let parents and students know this. Maryland is the first state to make it illegal for schools to send names to military recruiters when taking the ASVAB. Activists in schools are making policy that restricts military recruiting in the school so that it isn't more invasive than college or job recruiting.
The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth has information, pamphlets, and contact information for local activists. You can also find the Oakland and San Francisco policies at http://nnomy.org. Kathy
I have a 20 year old son who has not registered for the selective service. Since he has not had to apply for financial aid or citizenship, this has not affected him, but I'm wondering what the risks and consequences are? Last year, he had a scrape with the law in another state (shoplifting) and now has a misdemeanor on his record. If there were a draft, he would likely claim conscientious objector status. I would appreciate hearing from other parents or those knowledgeable about the law. Thank you. anonymous
Last night our daughter (an only child) informed us that she wants to enlist in the Military when she graduates from Berkeley High in June. She will be 18, and legally we will be powerless to stop it. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. My wife and I are totally devastated.
We would like to hear from people who have sons or daughters in or know people who have been to Iraq or Afghanistan. We are not looking for expressions of sympathy or necessarily any advice. We would like to talk with people who know the realities first hand of what being in the military AT THIS TIME this can mean. She has been talking to the recruiters. We have to be certain that she understands the reality of what she will be getting into. We may like to have her talk with your knowledgeable person. I would like to contact people off list via e-mail if possible. If you do not have first hand knowledge, or know someone who does who would be willing to talk with us/her, please do not respond. I don't feel that a political discussion or uniformed opinions will be of help to anyone in or outside of our family. People, this is as real as it gets. Ray
Our 18 year old daughter, about to graduate from high school, has become enamored with the military. In fact, despite (or perhaps in in spite of) our pacifist, leftist leanings, she has already signed up for deferred enlistment in the US Army later this summer. Although this in entirely revokable, we see no signs that she is going to change her mind.
We are deeply concerned (scared to death!) that she has no clue about what she is really likely to come up against in the Army. She is in love with the structured environment and the idea of belonging to a tight knit group, but seems completely oblivious to the moral, psychological, or physical realities of war and military service for the US at this time in history. Her actual experience is limited to a year participating in the Civil Air Patrol which we tolerated and hoped she would grow beyond.
Our daughter has had an up and down experience academically in high school, hasn't enjoyed being a student much, and is definitely not looking forward to college although she has been admitted to some creditable schools. We are happy to look at alternatives to college right now that are less drastic than the army.
We have had her talk to a few people we know who have served in the military with mixed to horrific experiences, but so far this hasn't seemed to have much influence.
As an added wrinkle, our daughter lives in two homes and is being supported in her military aspirations in the other home.
We are looking for:
1. Alternative activities/organizations that might provide structure and sense of belonging after high school and some creative learning.
2. More ways to communicate the downside of military service for a woman in the US in 2007.
k What about the Peace Corps or another organization that is more involved with peaceful missions? Habitat for Humanity maybe? Good Luck! anon
but here is the hard part, for parents of legal adults -- we have to butt out and let them decide. as a matter of fact, backing off an acknowledging this is her choice may allow her to consider what she will do more seriously. it takes that oppositional ''you can't make me'' thing out of the equation.
''you are an adult. i feel this way, but it is your decision. i will always love you.'' that's what your daughter needs to hear, and even though it is rough for us to transition from our caretaker roles, it is also what we have to do, have to say. anonymom
Here's what also came to mind upon reading your post - when I was a teen, way back when, my mom knew I was running a bit amok with and among a group of friends (at Berkeley High) who were all doing a lot of sleeping around. So one day, as an extension of her work (she's now a retired doctor) we went to the AIDS ward at UCSF. She actually didn't really have to say a thing after that. Very impactful. So I'd be heading off with my daughter to a VA hospital right about now, to show her the lasting inevitable price that some soldiers pay for their service in wartime. I'd also recommend the chilling HBO series about the Baghdad ER room. Very grim and very real. Finally, any chance of enlisting support from the other household? Best of luck for a safe and secure outcome
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