Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The GI Rights Hotline: a great resource for soldiers and their families

Yesterday, during our school visit at LBJ High School, a student made a beeline for our table and told me that her brother was in the Marines and that he was having trouble.  I told her about the GI Rights Hotline, which can be reached online or by phone at 877-447-4487.  The calls are free and confidential, answered by non-military volunteers who are trained in military regulations and can answer questions about many kinds of problems GIs face in the armed forces.

The kinds of trouble reported by enlistees include sexual trauma, hazing, racial discrimination, physical injuries from training exercises, psychological injuries, family problems and changes in core beliefs about killing in war.   

As we tell students, after bootcamp, it's usually very difficult to get a discharge from any branch of the military, but the counselors who answer the GI Rights hotline can help by listening, presenting options and describing the possible consequences.

For students who have signed a DEP contract, but who have not yet begun bootcamp, it's important to know that you CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND.  At any point before your report date, you can decide to not go. It is legal and there is no punishment.  You can just not go.  You can call the GI Rights Hotline to speak with a counselor if you wish, who can help explain this crucial aspect of the Delayed Entry Program.  

No comments: