Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Launching the new school year at Austin HS

We were glad to be back at Austin HS today for our first tabling of the new school year! We were busy from beginning to end at the table and really appreciated all the interest in the issues raised through the t-shirt challenge questions. Students were serious and thoughtful in their responses. 28 students participated in the t-shirt challenge for our new shirts of the year.

Penny Poll results showed 26% of the vote for Health Care funding, 24% for Education, 20% for the Environment, 11% for the Military, 10% for Humanitarian Aid and 9% for NASA. 

We had added Michael Franti and Jane Addams to the Peace Wheel. We chose Jane Addams, as SOY was given a generous grant this year by the Jane Addams Peace and Disarmament Fund, which helped us purchase the t-shirts and literature we use! A big thank-you, too, to Linda for her generous donation of a box of Addicted to War books and to my niece, Rachel for designing the awesome Peace Cougar shirt! Most students chose Racism as the Supervillain they will resist, and several chose Sexism, Homophobia, Poverty and Militarism. Their responses are included here in the photos. Thank you, Maroons. The World Needs You!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Michael Franti, Power to the Peaceful

We're adding a couple more names to our Peace Wheel of Fortune for this semester, including Michael Franti, who has been touring the country this summer with his band on a "Love Out Loud" tour.  He's got some great videos out there, too.  Here is one of his from last year, "Good to be Alive Today."

Friday, September 8, 2017

AISD district policy regarding military recruiters on campuses

With the start of the 2017/18 school year, the office of the Legal Counsel for AISD is sending out a reminder, as they have in previous years, about the AISD policy regarding military recruiters on campuses.  This is an important policy that is designed to protect student privacy.  Special note should be made of Point 8: recruiters are prohibited from asking students to fill out cards giving recruiters their contact information.   If students or staff witness violations of this policy, they should contact their principals.  If you see something, please say something.

Here is the policy, as stated in the Community Relations section, GKC Local:

The following guidelines shall apply to recruiters on District campuses:

1. All recruiters shall first report to the campus administrative office to obtain a visitor’s badge each time they visit school property.

2. The principal shall designate specific areas on each campus for recruiting purposes. Recruiting may not occur at school athletic events or other school-sponsored events, unless specifically authorized by the principal.

3. Recruiters shall not continue ongoing contact when a student makes it clear by speech or other conduct that contact with the recruiter is unwelcome. In no event may recruiters meet with a student under the age of 18 years off campus without written consent submitted to a campus administrator by the student’s parent or guardian.

4. Evidence of a parent’s or guardian’s intent to provide directory information upon request shall be respected. [See FL]

5. The Armed Serves Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test shall be administered according to the same terms and conditions as other aptitude tests administered within the District. District schools shall select “Option 8” on the ASVAB test prior to the administration of the ASVAB at the school to ensure consistency with the opt-out provisions for release of contact information to the military.

6. Recruiting of any kind shall not be permitted at a time, place, and manner that disrupts classroom instruction. Recruiting in a classroom or other designated space shall be acceptable if it is at the invitation of authorized school personnel and part of a school-approved program.

7. Schools shall allow information regarding recruiting, including recruiting by the military and those advocating alternatives to the military, to be made available to students in an equivalent manner and location.

8. Recruiters shall not solicit student contact information directly from a student or require such information as a condition to participate in an activity or to receive an award or gift.

If a visitor fails to comply with the general rules or guidelines set out in this policy, the principal or other campus administrator may deny the visitor access to the campus. If a military recruiter fails to comply with the guidelines set out in this policy, the principal or other campus administrator may contact the military recruiter's supervisor to report the failure to comply and request that such individual not return to the campus.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dreamers welcome

We stand with Education Austin and United We Dream in opposition to the statements by US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions yesterday regarding DACA.  We support the right to education for all those living in the US, regardless of citizenship status.  This is a legal right.  And for those immigrants who have pursued college and are now working in their chosen profession, it makes no sense to threaten deportation.  In fact, threats of deportation for any immigrant make it harder on families and especially the young people within families who are being made to feel afraid of government policies targeting them.  Threatening young people is cruel.  We appreciate DREAMERS, DACAmented and undocumented students who are sharing their stories and standing together to say, "Here to Stay."