Wednesday, September 19, 2018

International (Week!) of Peace at Akins HS

Yesterday, Hart, Tami and I made our first school visit of the new semester to Akins HS, and we had great participation from students there. We decided to ask students to tell us about ways they've practiced their First Amendment freedoms recently instead of just asking them to list the freedoms. Several students mentioned that they had participated in the school walk-out protesting gun violence. Others talked about discussing LGBTQ rights and immigrant rights in their classrooms, attending their churches of choice and helping push for legislation to stop deportations of immigrants.

 Because this coming Friday is the International Day of Peace, we also asked students to write down actions that people can take to increase the peace. There were lots of thoughtful responses, including:

"Talk it out and actually listen to the other party."
"Put each other in each other's shoes."
"More people need to be kind and genuine."
"Use words and not guns or violence."
"I think the best first solution to every problem is education. As well as understanding and then to take action."
"Be more respectful to people."

"People have to speak out for what is right, and do things based on that.  Even if peace is impossible we should still aim for it."
"Responsibility. Taking care of yourself and others. Peace, Earth, Life."

Some of the many student responses to the reflection question

We did the Penny Poll, as usual, and Health Care was the top priority at 28% of the vote, Education at 24%, the Military at 16.5 % (veterans benefits were mentioned by at least one voter as being why she put her pennies in that jar), 15.5% for the Environment, 10% for Humanitarian Aid and 6% for NASA. Thanks to all Akins Eagles who came by the table and shared their thoughts with us!
t-shirt challenge for the day

Friday, September 14, 2018

Reminder: AISD policy limiting student access by military recruiters in our schools

A reminder to all students, teachers, administrators and parents within the Austin Independent School District:  AISD has a policy of protecting student privacy by placing these restrictions on military recruiters who visit AISD campuses.  This is the policy as adopted by the AISD School Board.  Any violations should be reported to the school's Principal.

GKC (Local) Policy for Recruiters on Campus:

The following guidelines shall apply to recruiters on District campuses:

1. All recruiters shall first report to the campus main 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]  (This refers to the form that parents and guardians fill out for their students that can opt them out of allowing their contact information to be given to military recruiters)

5. The Armed Services 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 in accordance with law. 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.