September - October 2011 Opt Out Campaign by Topanga Peace Alliance
In September and October, members of the Topanga Peace Alliance (TPA) distributed 15,000 military opt-out forms to seven high schools; Taft, Palisades, Reseda, Canoga Park, El Camino Real, Cleveland and Chatsworth High School all received the military Opt-out forms for TPA members.
Under the “No Child Left Behind” Federal Legislation, schools are required to share student’s personal information in the 11th and 12th grade with the military for recruitment purposes unless parents of students sign an opt-out form.
While leafleting and talking with students, we found that many of them were unaware that military would have access to their personal information or that opting out was an option for them. While these forms help keep their information away from the military there is another way the government is working on recruiting children. TPA has become aware of JAMRS. JAMRS stands for the ‘Joint Advertising Market Research Studies.’ The JAMRS database is funded by The Department of Defense. It maintains data on 30 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 25 that includes information such as your name, date of birth, gender, mailing address, email address, race and ethnicity, telephone number, high school name, graduation date, grade point average (GPA), college intent, military interest, field of study, and the ASVAB Test score.
Opt out forms for this highly-intrusive data base are not currently supplied to the students, and are not available in Southern California schools. TPA is coordinating an effort with the Los Angeles Unified School District to add JAMRS opt-out forms to the student packets that go home at the beginning of the school year. If anyone is interested in helping with our efforts please contact Sarah Young, TPA Project Coordinator at: 310-562-7866.
Overall we feel this year’s opt-out drives were successful and we hope next year to be able to supply the standard opt-out forms along with the JAMRS opt-out forms. Thank you to all that have helped and supported this effort! Once again, Topangans are making a difference. - Sarah Young - Topanga Peace Alliance
NNOMY Note: Topanga Peace Alliance (TPA) Opt-out campaign included the following Los Angeles area high schools:
Learning the Issues about Youth Demilitarization
The NNOMY Reader is a useful primer to learn about the realities of military recruitment, the militarism effecting our youth in schools and our opportunities for peaceful coexistance. This collection of articles represents a historical overview of the U.S. based counter-recruitment movement's strategies to inform and intervene in schools and the community about the Pentagon's multi-billion dollar programs to recruit America's youth into escalating wars. The NNOMY Reader also includes some information on alternatives to enlistment, as well as research presented by activists and investigators on the nature and risks of cultural militarization and how it threatens our democracy. Learn more