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Watsonville “Emergency Card? OPT-OUT A Winner - Words & Photos, Bob Fitch

The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees voted in favor (4 to 3) of a resolution to increase student and family awareness of the OPT-OUT choice parents have to deny military recruiters access to private student information.
Watsonville, CA, Wed. June 29: The uncertainty was palpable in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting which determines policy for three public high schools, and four continuing education or charter high schools serving approximately 5,000 students and their families.

As a result of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, a requirement of federal education funding is that high school administrations release student contact, and other information to military recruiters. Students and parents may “Opt-Out? of the information release list, but notification that this option is careless-to-nonexistent.

In the predominantly Latino district, where recruiters “descend on students like vultures on road kill,? (as one counter recruitment worker stated) how is family and student notification of Opt-Out best assured?

Among the board members and 30 others in attendance, it was evident that the many were disturbed by the fiscal hostage element of the No Child act – no compliance, no federal funds. However they unanimously chose to focus, as Trustee Willie Yahiro clearly enunciate, the “privacy? issue -- the presumed abdication of parental control over marketing to students and consequent invasion of family life by recruiters.

A coalition of trustees, parents, students and community organizations wanted greater assurance of opt-out choice notification. Board chair Rhea DeHart bluntly stated, “I have talked to too many people where this important information gets lost in the shuffle.?

In a report to the board Superintendent Dr. Mary Anne Mays recommended the existing procedure; a written notification form mailed and distributed to parents. Watsonville High School Principal Cece Bell displayed the announcement and form that is reproduced in her school’s mail-home bulletin four times a year. “In four years of high school, a student is notified 16 times.?

That the “opt-out choice be included on the [mandatory] emergency card for all high school students including those at alternative high schools? was the motion by Trustee Sandra Nichols. The motion was seconded by Trustee Karen Osmundson, who wants a “uniform procedure for all high schools.?

Waving a sample card used by another school district, Nichols passionately declared: “ I don’t see any down side to this…if it were my child I would want to see this card the very first day.?

The motion “singles out the military? complained Trustee Evelyn Volpa. She displayed a tiny print and barely readable form from the Pajaro Valley High School that provided parents with opt out check boxes for several groups including military recruiters, media interviews and photos, college and university recruiters. She proposed an amendment to the Nichols motion for a similar inclusive card. A trustee vote denied the amendment.

Public testimony predominantly favoring the emergency card proposal and amplified
the uncertain notification and privacy concerns. Speakers included parents, teachers and representatives of community organizations including – Ramiro Medrano for the Watsonville Brown Berets, David Sweet for the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Sandino Gomez for the Youth Empowerment Program of Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV).

“In spite of all of these efforts by the schools, the word is not getting out,? was the summary provided by Pam Sexton, the Watsonville emergency card campaign organizer.

The vote: YES – Sandra Nichols, Karen Osmundson, Rhea DeHart, Doug Keegan. NO – Willie Yahiro, Sharon Gray, Evelyn Volpa.

In a quite moment immediately after the victory vote, and with a weary smile gracing her face and child-expectant body, Sexton reflected, “We won. My child is due this week. I’m tired but really happy.?

More Information: Opt Out Campaign Guide: www.rcnv.org/counterrecruit/optout/

Click on image for a larger version

file_1_motion.jpg
(L-R)Trustee Sandra Nichols, who introduced the Opt-Out emergency card resolution, waves a copy of a sample card declaring, "I don’t see any down side to this…if it were my child I would want to see this card the very first day.? Trustee Karen Osmundson seconded the motion and expressed concern that there be a “uniform procedure for all high schools.?


Click on image for a larger version

file_2_oppon.jpg
(L-R) Opt-Out emergency card opponent trustees Wilie Yahiro, Evelyn Volpa and Sharon Gray. All were concerned about privacy issues but believed the current notification system adequate or the resolution not sufficiently focused. Volpa was especially "offended" that "military recruiters are bring singled out."

Click on image for a larger version

file_3_child.jpg
Three year old Camila Cardenas Diaz clings to her mother Olga Diaz who speaks in favor of the Opt-Out emergency card resolution and also states, "I don't want my kids going to war."

Click on image for a larger version

file_4_org.jpg
Opt-Out emergency card campaign organizer Pam Sexton pauses for a quite moment immediately after the victory vote. With a weary smile gracing her face and child-expectant body, Sexton reflected, “We won. My child is due this week. I’m tired but really happy.?
 
 


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Comments

Re: Watsonville “Emergency Card? OPT-OUT A Winner - Words & Photos, Bob Fitch

LOL you didnt do anything but keep alot of options away from these kids. So the predomanatly white male armed forces will continue protecting you and your misconceptions and twisted reality.
 

Re: Watsonville “Emergency Card? OPT-OUT A Winner - Words & Photos, Bob Fitch

Killing other human beings has a deleterious effect on kids, when it is not done in a context of saving one's own home and family. The artificial motivation of saving one's comrades, at risk because of being asked to wipe out a foreign population, does not change the insanity-producing qualities of war'd intentional killing. We do not want our kids kelled or made crazy or their bodies broken by radioactive materials used in weaponry, where our grandchildren are born with terrible defects.
 

Re: Watsonville “Emergency Card? OPT-OUT A Winner - Words & Photos, Bob Fitch

Anonymous Poster, I believe you mean to say the perdominantly MYSOGINISTIC, HOMOPHOBIC, RACIST, white male armed forces. Just a correction to protect you and your misconceptions and truly twisted reality. Just keep watching Fox news and everything will be ok!
 

Re: Watsonville “Emergency Card? OPT-OUT A Winner - Words & Photos, Bob Fitch

since when is it acceptable for the government to blackmail the state, county, city, schools, but if we do it we get sent to jail for being "disruptive".
 

Re: Watsonville “Emergency Card? OPT-OUT A Winner - Words & Photos, Bob Fitch

Thanks to four somewhat lonely board members, the parents of Watsonville and Aptos students now have genuine information presented on their school emergency cards about their rights regarding military recruiters contacting their students.
Bravo to the success.
 

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