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Photos and Notes - PVUSD Supports Student Privacy

6/29/05 Watsonville, CA - They waited for more than two and a half hours. The last item on the agenda. But finally they were able to speak. One by one, members of the Pajaro Valley community rose and shared their stories with the school district officials. While their stories varied, they all ended with the same request - that the school district protect students' privacy by allowing them to opt-out from having their information released to military recruiters. This opt-out, they claimed, needed to be put on the mandatory emergency card, because it is the only way to ensure that their right to privacy will not be overlooked.

Avoiding anti-Privacy board members' attempts to dillute and derail this important proposal, school board allies pushed the changes through with a 4-3 vote. This marks an important moment in PVUSD's recent history - showing that at least a majority of the school board members will take proactive steps to ensure the privacy of their students and families.
Click on image for a larger version

These two girls, Ana and Camila, waited patiently for more than three hours. When their mom, Olga Diaz, rose to speak about the need of the district to put the opt-out on the emergency card, Camila stood next to her, while Ana sat next to this photographer, smiling and listening attentively.
PVUSD Board Trustee Sandra Nichols holds a neighboring district's card (Santa Cruz - which was one of the first districts to place the opt-out on the e-card), while explaining to other trustees the simplicity and importance of doing something similiar.
Click on image for a larger version

Some of the many community members who urged the district to adopt the proposal.

FAR LEFT - Olga Diaz, with daughters Ana (in foreground) and Camila (by her feet).

TOP CENTER LEFT - A mom speaks about how both her children opted out, but were still vigorously contacted by military recruiters, against their wishes.

BOTTOM CENTER LEFT - A teacher and veteran speaks about how he was recruited and the need to allow youth the ability to opt-out.

TOP CENTER RIGHT - Lauro Navarro, A dad of 4 children in college, who is also a construction worker, speaks about the importance of education. He looks through everything that comes home from school, but never saw the opt-out noficiation - which he claims can be fixed by putting it on the e-card.

BOTTOM CENTER RIGHT - Another community member speaks in favor of the proposal.

FAR RIGHT - Little Camila Diaz stands on the speaking podium next to her mom.
Click on image for a larger version

More of the supporters from the community.

FAR LEFT - Ramiro Medrano of the Watsonville Brown Berets speaks about how important it is not just for youth to know about their right to opt-out, but that they know of alternatives to the military as well.

TOP CENTER LEFT - Pam Sexton, the campaign organizer, reminds board trustees that this issue is about privacy, and that whether students and their families choose to give their information out to the military, they deserve that CHOICE. She also notes that the current opt-out notification system does not work - that most parents, even extremely attentive parents, haven't heard about it.

BOTTOM CENTER LEFT - Another supporter.

TOP CENTER RIGHT - Sandino Gomez, the coordinator of the Resource Center for Nonviolence's Youth Empowerment Program speaks on the need to support youth by placing the opt-out on the e-card.

BOTTOM CENTER RIGHT - David Sweet of the Santa Cruz County American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) speaks of how this proposal is neccessary to protect students' privacy, as it has been seen that flyers or other forms of notification havn't worked. He also noted that this proposal will not risk any federal funding, and is even more important now that the military has had trouble with recruitment, recruiter scandals, and concerns over the Pentagon's new database of all youth 16-25.

FAR RIGHT - Another wonderful supporter.
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Trustee Evelyn Volpa, a mother of a child in the military, appeared to have issues with the proposal. As community members would speak, she consistently raised these time 'reminder' sheets, even cutting off Mr. Sweet, from the ACLU, before another trustee asked him to continue. Ms. Volpa eventually became frusterated when her attempts to dilute the opt-out failed. She claimed that the board was only focusing on the military's violation of privacy - apparently not realizing that they are the only institution that frequently requests student information lists. She voted against the privacy-concsious proposal - taking two other board members with her.
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An administrator at Watsonville High School (a recruitment hot-spot, also faced with a recent scandal, where a recruiter took high school girls to his apartment) and former navy recruiter strays from discussing the issue of privacy. He seemed visibly frusterated and, unlike the previous veteran speaker, apparently opposed the proposal on the basis that "someone in the military died for every person that came up to speak".

School administrators like this speaker are not uncommon - in fact the military encourages it with programs such as one entitled 'Troops to Teachers.'
Our heroines of the evening!

Maybe some day down the road, they'll be opting themselves out...
If you have any additional information on this important meeting or these issues in general, please contribute by posting a comment!

To reprint or for larger/additional photos, please email josh_lizard (at) - thank you to the organizers and participants of this important action (especially Ana and Camila)!

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Re: Photos and Notes - PVUSD Supports Student Privacy

That person you identified as an adminstrator is actually just a local gadfly who maybe in his wet dreams could be an adminstrator so he could spread his particularly vile bile to even more young minds. This guy's name is Dan Hernandez and (Thank God!) he is NOT an administrator. In fact, he might not even be a navy vetran. He used to claim to be an ex-Navy seal, however, the Navy's own records show that this is not true. This man is seriously deranged and according to a local activist has even threatened his neighbor with a gun. He shows up to every school board meeting and most city council meetings staying till the end everytime and always commenting against any progressive issues. He is also apparently good friends with Trustee Willie Yahiro, one of the more regressive and even racist school board trustees. Yahiro even said during the debate over naming a school after Cesar Chavez that farmworkers actually had it really easy and were paid well with lots of perks and benefits. This comment, while off the topic of Dan Hernandez, just goes to show the type of company this nutbag keeps.
Be very careful of these two.

Re: Photos and Notes - PVUSD Supports Student Privacy

Dan Hernandez was present at the Watsonville High Counter-Recruitment protest in some official form (at least he was wearing a WHS vest or something)- on the steps of the building where the job fair was taking place, in the way of community members providing alternatives to the military for local high school students.


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