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National Counter Recruitment Strategy Summit in Chicago, June 23-24, 2018.

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As an intern for Truth in Recruitment in Santa Maria, I had the opportunity to attend the National Counter Recruitment Strategy Summit in Chicago with our coordinator, Kate Connell. The summit consisted of learning the history of the counter recruitment movement along with developing goals and strategies that can be implemented by counter recruitment activists. I had the opportunity to work alongside several counter recruitment activists at the summit in breakout sessions. I was not only able to learn a lot from each and every one of them, but was also able to contribute by sharing my own experiences and giving my perspective as part of the youth.

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Taking a part in attending the summit allowed me to have more knowledge on the counter recruitment movement itself and has overall helped me to become more prepared. The goals and tactics that were developed will help face the challenges that may come in the community of Santa Maria. Truth in Recruitment has and will continue to strive to create an impact to the community by working with students, parents, and teachers to make a change happen.

–Selina Perez, Santa Maria High School student and intern.

Community Organizer Paid Internship

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An ideal internship opportunity for someone with a passion and interest in social justice, communications/social media, and community engagement. Applicants should feel comfortable doing presentations to groups and individuals with a variety of points of view.
Truth in Recruitment is a non-profit, student advocacy group based in Santa Barbara, California. We table in schools providing alternative information to military careers, give classroom presentations, organize public forums on the issue, and monitor recruiter presence on campuses. We also meet with school board members, school administrators, teachers, students, families, and youth groups to implement policies that regulate recruiter access to students.
Interns will work with a coordinator and with student and community volunteers to:
• Research existing recruiter school policies and protocols in Santa Barbara County School Districts.
• Assist in the establishment of a network and develop local commitment and support through outreach and presentations to community and youth groups such as — PTAs & parents organizations; community centers; high-school and college student clubs and classes; religious organizations; and veterans associations.
• Assemble and distribute organizing materials and sample policies.
• Help maintain our website and social media accounts.
• Develop a working list of agencies, media, and other resources to be contacted with information about regulating recruiters in schools.
• Set up appointments and meet with school staff and administrators.
***Bilingual and bicultural applicants preferred***
Veterans, students, and parents encouraged to apply!
Salary: $15/hour @6-8 hours/week to be paid once a month.
Please send a brief cover letter and resume to Kate Connell, connell.kateclareatgmail.com and
Stephen Pope stephenatheaveneverywhere.com.

Difficulties Limiting Recruiters in Santa Barbara Schools—Even with a policy!

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The military has an enormous budget for recruiting and pressuring school districts that limit recruiter visits….Vigilance is necessary. During the school year 2017-18 Truth in Recruitment (TIR) leadership and staff met with Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) school board members Ismael Ulloa, Wendi Sims-Mooten and Jackie Reid as well as Assistant Superintendent Shawn Carey on four separate occasions. We discussed implementation of the Exhibit 5125.1 Recruiting Activities in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and the continued problem of policy violations.

Two issues took a lot of back and forth with the district to work out — the Opt Out form for release of directory information, and recruiters’ efforts to solicit contact information directly from students:

  • We believe that a recruiter told the SBUSD that they could not give parents a choice on the Opt Out form to check a separate box to opt out only from the military getting a child’s information. Last year the district combined the two as a single opt-out – Colleges/Military. After much research by John Douglas, a retired lawyer and Dos Pueblos HS alumni parent, the district agreed to ‘uncouple’ the choices. We showed them over 20 examples of school districts who gave families an either or choice, including the state of Hawaii, and such cities as Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. The Military Law Task Force and the Project on Youth and Nonmilitary Opportunities also aided this effort.

2017 online registration that combined College/Military in a single opt out:Screen shot SBUSD 2017-18

This year’s, 2018, online registration with Colleges and Military ‘uncoupled’:

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  • The second issue–some SBUSD high schools allowed recruiters to use ‘surveys’ and contact cards to collect student contact information directly from students. Under the federal Every Child Succeeds Act, school districts are only required to give recruiters a student’s name, address and telephone number. These surveys, prominent on the recruiter’s tables, asked for student’s email, GPA, U.S. citizenship status and more, under the guise of finding out their job interests for the military. Such surveys ignore parents’ opt out right to privacy. Recruiters also have handed their phones to students for them to follow each other on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. The military uses social media platforms extensively. After we showed examples of these “surveys” to the administration, they agreed that these violated students’ privacy and the SBUSD policy. If a family “opts-out” they “opt-out.” This will remain an area to monitor.

With the district’s support, TIR parent, students and staff will have annual meetings with all of the SBUSD principals to engage them in implementing the policy and making their staff aware of the recruiter guidelines. We also plan to continue meeting with the school board members and district administration. For our goal of building leadership, we will be working with Parent, Teacher and Student Associations, English Learner Advisory Committees (ELACs), and student clubs.

 

Santa Barbara High School Band Presentation June 4th, 2018

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Lisha and Stephen presented to a class of the Santa Barbara High School Band. There were about a dozen students present, including a mix of gender, race and attitudes toward the military.

After brief introductions, Lisha queries the students about their relationships to military service and feelings about, stressing that we were not there to shame anyone, but rather to invite a frank and honest discussion of the pros and cons or military service as a career or educational life-path.

There was one student present who was in a “pre-enlistment” program of the Navy, and happily announced that she’d be spending the summer training. She also shared that she had encouraged several friends to join her program, but also that she realized that they were probably not going to be getting college educations from the Navy.

In keeping with the TiR materials, we stressed that enlisting is making a large commitment with precious few actual guarantees of when you’ll get in return.

In order to have some discussion of musical careers, Stephen showed several new musical instrument projects he’s undertaken with UCSB students.

Santa Barbara High School Career Day

My time at Santa Barbara High School working with Truth in Recruitment was satisfying and it felt like we (Lisha) and I made a big splash. Many students were at the table and we spoke to a great many and had several penetrating conversations.  The students were open to what we had to say and they answered our many prodding questions about what they know about the military and about their plans for the future. We were badly needed and outnumbered, so it was nice to have Americorp there as “an alternative” in addition to reminding them at SBCC is free for them.  I greatly appreciated all the work that Kate and Lisha have done with all the games, the posters and information. The buttons, literature and games were magnets, and provided an “in” into their thinking about the military and whether they wish to join it.  Quick suggestion: I would have a poster with at least six alternatives to the military. I was unsure whether or not the game which is a “wheel” was ever used, most of the students did not know the people on it. Perhaps a few basics on “THE MILITARY” and its environmental record, since all the students indicated concern for the environment.

Santa Maria High School Family Forum; Military Recruiters On Campus

IMG_6779I found the informational meeting at the Santa Maria Public Library, Santa Maria High School Family Forum; Military Recruiters On Campus, inspiring and very revealing of primordial sentiments held by loving parents and community members resistant to the presence of military recruiting tactics on Santa Maria Joint Unified School District campuses. Testimonials from event sponsors: Truth in Recruitment, Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project/ El Proyecto Mixteco/Indígena Organización Comunitaria (MICOP), and Importa, as well as high school staff, parents and students were exceptional, each giving their own point of view of where emphasis should be focused to further the well-being of the students. Excessive military recruiter presence was demonstrated during the evening in a power point and digital recordings.

Testimony was markedly in favor of providing students with the skills and resources necessary to improve their developing reasoning powers, abilities, and career formation. In order to achieve this, attendees requested to be protected from the leering tactics of beguiling military job classifications and so-called “benefits” invented by military recruiting professionals. The need for a philosophy of peace was expressed by attendees, and as might be expected a testimonial was given that clearly shows the disillusionment that awaits uninformed enlistees. One example was given by the parent of a 19 year old son now awaiting orders from his post in Japan to Korea, a fretful status unwanted by both this new recruit and his parents.

–Michael Cervantes, Vietnam War veteran, infantry and Veterans for Peace Ventura member.

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Black History Celebration Santa Maria

The Black History Month Celebration at Pioneer Park in Santa Maria on Saturday 2/17/18 went beautifully; the site in a tree sheltered open spaced field was sweet and the many people we met, too!  We talked with countless folks about what Truth In Recruitment is about and doing, plus handouts, buttons and wristbands were offered.  And of course, everybody got given a flyer about the upcoming Santa Maria High School Family Forum scheduled for Tuesday 2/27/18 about Military Recruiters On Campus. 

 

On SaturdayTruth In Recruitment was among some 28 participating community organizations including CAUSE, Democratic Club of Santa Maria Valley, Lompoc Valley, AGIF Education Foundation, United Domestic Workers Union, the NAACP, the Girl Scouts of America and others.  All providing informational pamphlets, services, membership sign-up lists and other resources to help educate the public.

 

There was live music with a band, dancers and speakers including keynote speaker Congressman Salud Carbajal and newly elected 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann.  Capping the event, Black History Month celebrants were generously provided with a delicious Santa Maria BBQ and the successful day was unanimously enjoyed by all.