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Unwitting soldiers

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Most parents would be concerned if they thought information about their child was being shared with the military. Sound the alarms: It is happening now, and it's happening in our schools.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 contains a provision that requires schools, when asked, to provide a student's private information. Section 9528 states that each local educational agency receiving federal assistance under the act shall provide, when military recruiters make a request, access to secondary school students' names, addresses and telephone numbers.

"Many schools obtain parental permission to share this information when they sign over permission for other school-related activities, such as agreeing to have an entry in the school's directory," the act states.

Those parents who don't want to have their kids' information recorded in the military's files must take the step of specifically requesting the option to not share the information. This is known as opting out. To opt-out your child, you must submit an opt-out letter to your school district's superintendent. Go to www.leavemychildalone.org to get the forms and for more information. In addition to opting out with the military, you also need to opt out with the Pentagon. These forms, and assistance finding your superintendent, are also on this Web site.

Groups in the area have been working to educate parents about the provisions in the act and the right to protect their child's private information. The Triangle chapter of Code Pink, the women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement that seeks social change through creative protest and non-violent direct action, has adopted a mission statement to provide educational outreach and information on the No Child Left Behind Act and opting out. You can contact Code Pink at groups.yahoo.com/group/codepinknc.

Triangle Code Pink is also working with other groups in the area. The group C.H.O.I.C.E.S. (Committee for High School Options and Information on Careers, Education, and Self-improvement) is informing parents and students of opportunities for kids not college-bound (internships, job skills training, etc.) as an alternative to the military. This group also actively assists young people who choose to file for Conscientious Objector status with the Selective Service. For information go to omlets.tripod.com/co-ssa18.

High school- and college-aged students who want to develop political organizing skills and create strategies to fight military recruitment, the poverty draft and the corporations that profit off of war can attend an Action Camp starting Friday, Sept. 30 through Sunday, Oct. 2 at Camp New Hope near Chapel Hill that's being sponsored by the N.C. Peace and Justice Coalition. To sign up, go to www.ncpeacejustice.org and click on NC Truth in Recruitment Campaign, or e-mail paefleap@mindspring.com.

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