Maryland Bill Would Ban
Lead Ammo in the Schools
High school JROTC Cadets handle lead pellets while
lead dust covers the cafeteria floor.
A bill in the Maryland legislature would ban the use of lead ammunition in high school firing ranges.
For many years I've been trying to rid the nation’s high schools of firing ranges. I just don’t think kids should be shooting guns in schools. But, after working on this problem in every state and writing a book that explores the issue in some depth, I realize how popular the shooting ranges are among a small, but politically forceful minority. Most people, it seems,
are aghast at the notion of children learning to fire weapons in their classrooms and cafeterias.
On the other hand, almost everyone understands that children should not be regularly exposed to the lead contamination. This new legislation in Maryland would ban the use of lead in the ammunition. Nothing more.
Lead accumulates on the floor at the muzzle end of the gun and at the target backstop. Tiny lead particulates become airborne and delicate cleaning procedures are often not followed. See my testimony here.
Can you think of people who might be in a position to testify in Annapolis on February 21st?
Can you reach out to your delegate and others to support this legislation? So far 36 Democrats have signed on!
Thanks to the leadership of Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr, District 17, Montgomery, for introducing this important bill!
There is no crossover Senate bill, so our focus is on the House with the hopes it passes and next year can be promulgated on both sides. The nation will take note if this passes Maryland’s House of Delegates.
Please contact your delegate and ask her/him to support HB 523.
Here’s the summary http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?id=hb0523&pid=billpage&stab=01&tab=subject3&ys=2019rs
And here’s the bill:
Tell NY State Education
Protect Student Privacy!
The Department of Defense's military aptitude test (ASVAB) is given to thousands of 10th, 11th & 12th grade public school students in New York State.
We think parents should know their children are being tested by the military at school and we think parents should be given the right to decide if they want their children to participate - and whether private information about their children should be released to recruiters.
Please Click Here to send the NY Commissioner of Education a note to protect student privacy when kids take the ASVAB.
Passing Opt-Out Legislation
The following brief provides details on introducing a bill in Maine to address the military recruiter “opt-out” section of the Every Student Succeeds Act, S. 1177. The materials below generally apply to all states.
Please read through the relevant sections of the federal and Maine state laws below.
Maryland is the only state that requires parents to fill out a form asking if they consent to the release of their child’s information to military recruiters. Maryland places the opt-out language on the mandatory emergency contact form.
Maryland’s Law (the ASVAB law is also in this section)
JROTC Shooting Programs are Dangerous to the Health and Safety of American School Children
This 25-page report documents the danger of lead contamination associated with the military’s JROTC marksmanship program in high schools across the country. The research examines the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) and its regulation and enforcement of lead safety standards.
According to data provided by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), a proxy of the NRA, there are 1,871 military shooting programs in American High Schools.
See the data here
JROTC Marksmanship Teams
National Guard Armories
Contaminated with Lead
Children who participate in JROTC Marksmanship Programs often come into regular contact with deadly lead contaminants while shooting in America's poorly managed National Guard Armories.
See the database here.
Campaign: Shut Down High School Marksmanship Programs!
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS, where Nik Cruz attended, practice in the school's shooting range.
We have an opportunity to put an end to military high school marksmanship programs and firing ranges. We will have activists send thousands of emails to state legislators, calling on them to support legislation to ban high school shooting programs.
Please sign the petition to shut down firing ranges in American high schools! Your message will be sent to your state legislators. We must get people to connect the dots between gun violence and militarism.
Here’s some background.
The Army taught Florida gunman Nikolas Cruz how to shoot a lethal weapon in his high school cafeteria when he was 14. Nik was a member of the school’s JROTC program.
Militarism is a contributing cause of gun violence in America. Nearly 2,000 high schools offer marksmanship programs to students enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers' Corps (JROTC) program. These shooting programs don’t belong in our schools! JROTC courses, which often substitute for core curriculum subjects, are taught by retired soldiers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines who often do not have college credentials.
We will stop this!
Wars start in high school cafeterias where military recruiters forge relationships with kids during lunch! After lunch the same cafeterias are often transformed into shooting ranges and the numbers are growing exponentially. The marksmanship programs typically use CO2-powered long rifles that shoot .177 caliber lead pellets at speeds up to 600 feet per second.
Please send the petition. We’re going to shut down these shooting programs and high school firing ranges across the country.
Countering militarism in our schools has always been a strategic blind spot for the anti-war movement. The idea of weapons practice in the schools is despicable and represents the lowest lying fruit for our picking.
Our goal within two years is for activists in a half-dozen states to succeed in having their state representatives introduce legislation to ban military marksmanship programs in the high schools. We can do this.
We’ll participate in an online campaign that will encourage activists to send the petition and to follow it up in a week with a separate email to their legislators. After another week, if activists have not received a response from their local lawmakers, they will be encouraged to call their representatives, using our talking points.
We will promote the Shut Down High School Marksmanship Program campaign with frequent stories in the progressive media and an accompanying robust letter-writing campaign directed at editors of local and statewide news outlets. These letters should be “open letters” to the regional Recruiting Battalion Commander and the local Military Entrance Processing Station Commander
The letters should not be political. Activists will be asked to stick to the script, ”Get the guns out of the schools, now!”
This campaign will not concentrate on the removal of all military programs from the high schools. Too many of our allies in the counter-recruitment movement feel that calling for the removal of all JROTC programs from the schools would be counter-productive.
We can expect furious opposition from the NRA, the CMP, and the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command. Bring it on. We believe we have the American public on our side.
More on high school firing ranges
GI Nick Cruz
Propaganda from CACI: What single High School activity today is responsible for dramatically changing the lives of so many? Where are HS students learning valuable lessons in leadership, integrity, honesty, commitment, citizenship, and respect? And where are instructors using dynamic methods of teaching, focusing on the way students learn and applying those skills in and out of the classroom? The answer?
SkoolLive - An interactive digital invasion of our high schools by corporations and the military.
For years DOD recruiting commanders have attempted to circumvent student privacy protections that are designed to shield minors from the wholesale transfer of student information from the nation’s high schools to the Pentagon’s Military Entrance Processing Command.
The DOD markets “career opportunities” through the schools, relying on a variety of methods, from Channel One, a 12-minute, highly commercialized, daily TV program that reaches as many as 5 million children a day, to various posters and announcements touting military service or other schemes like the Career Exploration Program. For the most part, however, these outreach efforts ultimately rely on the schools as a third party from which to extract student data. Until now, the DOD’s quest for greater access to children has been somewhat stymied by pesky state and federal laws that regulate the flow of student information from the schools.
Imagine then, the Pentagon’s keen interest in a plan by upstart SkoolLive LLC of Fallbrook, CA to install thousands of giant 6-foot i-phones with flashing, screaming, streaming interactive screens in thousands of high school hallways across the country. These life-size digital kiosks allow kids to directly upload their personal information without having to deal with school policies or state and federal laws!
The company has agreements with more than 2,000 schools in 27 states and intends to triple that number, according to press reports.
According to SkoolLive, school officials allow the free installation of these devices because they are convinced the gadgets “enrich a student’s school experience by replacing mundane printed posters with high quality digital ads that require less space, reduce visual clutter, move schools into the digital age, and saves tons of time, money and trees.” http://www.skoollive.com/#!about-us/mainPage
But these officials may not be seeing the entire picture.
From the screen of the SkoolLive website directed toward potential advertisers, "The SkoolLive Kiosk screens are touch sensitive. The feature allows the company to offer “interactive” ads. With this interactive feature, advertisers are able to conduct student surveys, determine product preferences, enter contests, send text messages containing promo codes, discount coupons, etc. Our proprietary software captures and analyzes this valuable data, providing advertisers the analytics and feedback necessary to effectively measure audience acceptance as well as the effectiveness of their ad."
The placement of these SkoolLive kiosks may, however, circumvent The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Generally, the law states that schools may disclose information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, etc., but the schools are required to allow parents to request that the school not disclose information about children. Many state laws go even further in protecting student rights. By allowing the placement of these giant interactive kiosks, schools, in essence, may be allowing the transfer of student information without providing for parental consent.
Additionally, SkoolLive’s interactive hallway contraptions may be violating Section 8025 of the Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA) https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1177/text
Complaint filed with EPA over alleged safety violations concerning school firing range in Flint, Michigan
On January 25, 2016, the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy filed a complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against the Northwestern High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program operating in Flint, Michigan. The complaint alleges that the high school fails to protect the health and safety of students as evidenced by the photo shown here. The EPA has dismissed the complaint. More
Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer claimed that 1,100 high schools barred military recruiters. The Pentagon now says all schools allow recruiters. More
Must watch video
The Secretary of the Navy Tells a Whopper
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
By David Swanson and Pat Elder
According to statements in February by the Secretary of the Army, various U.S. high schools are barring military recruiters from access to students. The Secretary of the Navy this past December said that public school boards are keeping military recruiters out of 1,100 high schools. More.
Contact: David Swanson firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Elder email@example.com
Legislation in Maine
The ASVAB is the military’s 3-hour enlistment exam. About 700,000 students in 12,000 high schools take the ASVAB across the country every year. In Maine, 3,587 took the test in 91 high schools during the 2015-2016 school year.
Military regulations say the primary purpose of the ASVAB “Career Exploration Program” is to find leads for recruiters. See Page 6 of the Military Recruiter Handbook Meanwhile, the program is marketed by the military as a free public service to help children decide on civilian career paths.
Testimony from Maryland
Testimony of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland in Maryland's General Assembly, March 17, 2010
ACLU MD Testimony.pdf
Testimony of the Maryland PTA in Maryland's General Assembly, March 3, 2010
Testimony of the NAACP Maryland State Conference in Maryland's General Assembly, March 3, 2010
NAACP MD Testimony.pdf
Letter of Christopher Beveridge, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Commanding Officer, Baltimore Military Entrance Processing Station, April 7, 2010
Lt. Col. Beveridge writes to oppose the legislation. His position is contrary to that of the MD PTA, which argues that student information should be controlled by parents. By opposing the measure, Lt. Col. Beveridge is arguing that student information should be controlled by the Pentagon.
Lt. Col Beveridge's Letter in Opposition.pdf
Legal brief by National Lawyers Guild lays out arguments that the administration of the ASVAB violates the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and state statutes.
"By not selecting Option 8 when it administers the ASVAB, the School District is violating not only
statutory rights, it is also violating constitutional rights."
L.A. Chapter, 2005
Best Practices for ASVAB-CEP Administration
This report from Rutgers Law School makes a compelling case that high school counselors have both legal and professional responsibilities to ensure that student test information is not automatically released to military recruiters. DOWNLOAD PDF
Military Whitewash Campaign Kills Student Privacy Bill in Connecticut
A bill that would have protected the privacy of Connecticut's
schoolchildren was defeated in May largely due to a misinformation campaign by the military recruiting command.
Find JROTC Programs
with firing ranges
in a high school near you
According to data provided by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), a proxy of the NRA, there are 1,871 military shooting programs in American high schools.
See the data here
How JROTC Shooting Programs Contaminate Our High Schools with Lead.
JROTC Marksmanship Teams Shoot in Filthy Commercial Ranges Contaminated with Lead
Children as young as eight years-old who participate in JROTC, Boy Scouts, Young Marines, and 4-H Clubs, may come into regular contact with deadly lead contaminants while shooting in America's largely unregulated firing ranges. See the database.
How to Ban Marksmanship Programs in High School Districts
(Adapted from NNOMY’s Guide to Banning School Marksmanship Training)
The Military Turns to
YouTube for Recruiting
Like President Trump who regularly tweets messages to his audience, the Army's Recruiting Command has an "alternative" channel to communicate with potential recruits. Enter Archie Masibay, SGT,US Army.
SGT Masibay, AKA Archiezzle, burst upon the world of video recruiting in early 2016, part of a virtual platoon of soldiers in the recruiting command. The Staff Sergeant turned recruiter has produced 430 videos on YouTube with 18 million views and 37,000 subscribers.
Are the sergeant's frequent explanations of recruiting policy to be regarded as official pronouncements? For instance, the news that the Army will now be accepting soldiers who score a 21 on the ASVAB enlistment test is a radical departure from the past that is sure to send shock waves throughout the Army and American society. Is this for real? More
Pentagon Recruiting Playbook Revealed
By Pat Elder
July 15, 2017
Ominous developments in three states this summer - Oregon, Texas, New Jersey, and one city - Chicago, provide a glimpse into the Pentagon’s new playbook to recruit soldiers from high schools across the country. In brief, the military has been engaged in a robust lobbying campaign to lower academic standards to make it easier to recruit youth.
New recruits have long been required to hold a high school diploma or a GED certificate. This requirement is a major impediment to finding enough soldiers to meet annual targets, but even when struggling students barely manage to graduate, the Pentagon has developed a plan to marshal more of them into the military.
The Oregon Department of Education recently endorsed the Oregon National Guard’s Credit Proficiency Program for use in high schools across the state. The program gives juniors and seniors the chance to earn academic credits while training for military service at Oregon National Guard facilities. The program is expected to cut the state’s drop-out rate while increasing the on-time graduation rate. In 2015 Oregon’s 74.8% graduation rate was the third lowest in the country.
Under the program, if a senior in high school realizes a few weeks before graduation that he doesn’t have enough credits to graduate, he could enlist, go to Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT), and those pesky graduation requirements are satisfied. Some are even allowed to walk with their graduating class.
Juniors may enlist in a split training program by attending Basic Training for 11 weeks in the summer to earn high school credits, returning to school as a senior, graduating, and then attending AIT.
Press reports announcing the Oregon Department of Education’s endorsement of the military program have repeated the blatant lie that “some school systems have taken a stance against allowing military recruiters to be active on their campuses.” There is no record of a single public high school in Oregon that forbids military recruiters. To do so would jeopardize federal funding.
In New Jersey, where students must pass senior year exit exams to graduate, school officials will allow seniors to earn a diploma if they can manage a score of a 31 on the military’s enlistment test, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB. A 31 on the ASVAB is the lowest score the Army will allow. It is equivalent to an 8th-grade mastery of English and Math.
DOD regulations say recruits must be high school graduates or GED-holders.
“Join the army, if you fail!”
“Join the Army;
we’ll make sure you pass,
‘Cause that’s the way
we’ll get your _ss.”
Military planners have long complained that too many high school dropouts were precluded from becoming soldiers. There were 8,000 high school drop outs in New Jersey alone in 2016. Meanwhile, New Jersey has an 89% on-time graduation rate. Allowing students to score a 31 on the ASVAB may be expected to help with drop out and graduation rates while significantly lowering standards.
Nationally, the “status dropout rate” stood at 5.9 percent in 2015. The "status dropout rate" is the percentage of 16-to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or a GED). This group is of keen interest to the recruiting command. Relaxing high school graduation standards will help to ease the current crisis in recruiting. This is part of the Pentagon’s game plan in all fifty states.
The Texas Legislature recently passed a law, SB 1843, that requires all high schools in Texas to offer the ASVAB Career Exploration Program, “or a similar vocational aptitude test.” The Army’s recruiting commander in Dallas led the successful lobbying campaign. The alternative aptitude test “must assess aptitude for success without college, be free to administer, require minimal support and training from school faculty, and provide a professional interpretation of the results.” The ASVAB is the only instrument that meets the bill. Soon, nearly all high school students in Texas will be required to take the military’s 3-hour enlistment test.
Recruiters receive ASVAB scores, social security numbers, and detailed demographic information through the administration of the test. At first blush, however, it appears that if the ASVAB becomes an officially mandated testing requirement, “It would mean that the military would be acting as an agent for the school and would thus have to comply with laws protecting pupil privacy (e.g., provisions of FERPA and NCLB/ESEA),” explained Rick Jahnkow of Project YANO in San Diego. The ASVAB Career Exploration Program, therefore, could only be administered as a graduation requirement if it is given under ASVAB Release Option 8, meaning that results cannot be provided to recruitment services. Otherwise, parents would have to give written permission to release the test data to recruiters.
ASVAB results are currently the only student information leaving American schools without first providing for parental consent. Meanwhile, The Pentagon refuses to sign on to the Student Privacy Pledge, an effort to safeguard student privacy regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information.
Another Texas law, SB 1152 allows high school students to receive up to four excused absences from school when pursuing enlistment in any branch of the armed services and it provides for an additional opportunity to take the ASVAB at Military Entrance Processing Stations.
Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school system in the country with nearly 400,000 students, will withhold high school diplomas unless students have a job, college, or military plans lined up. The program, Learn. Plan. Succeed will require students to meet at least one of the following requirements in addition to regular credit requirements, to graduate:
The United States Military Entrance Processing Command is having trouble finding enough recruits so they’ve turned to working with legislators and school officials to approve laws and policies that’ll make it easier to find new soldiers.
Oregon will allow those who cannot graduate to complete coursework through military service. New Jersey will allow kids with abysmal academic records to graduate if they can pass a military exam that requires them to have an 8th-grade education. Texas kids will have to take the military’s enlistment test and they’ll get four excused absences for exploring military careers. In Chicago, even if students meet the academic requirements to graduate, a program requiring additional hoops is likely to funnel large numbers to recruiters.
It’s time for a national discussion on military recruitment, something not likely to happen while the media moguls continue to ignore this important story.
"Look out kid; you're gonna get hit."
"School officials encourage students to take the test under the belief that the
purpose of the ASVAB is to assist students in exploring their various career options. We do not object to the administration of the ASVAB test; however, the distribution of the
enormous amount of data collected on the ASVAB to military recruiters is a serious infringement on the privacy rights of those students." More
"By not selecting Option 8 when it administers the ASVAB, the School District is violating not only
statutory rights, it is also violating constitutional rights."
L.A. Chapter, 2005.
Remember the 4th Amendment!
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
An illegal search occurs when an expectation of privacy that society considers reasonable is infringed by a governmental employee or by an agent of the government. More
Child Soldiers International is concerned by a range of American recruitment policies and practices that undermine the safeguards contained in article 3.3 of OPAC, in particular with regards to the voluntary nature of underage recruitment, the right to privacy of children and the requirement of prior consent of parents (or legal guardians). Child Soldiers International is also concerned by the extensive access to schools and students’ information by the US military, which suggests that the US government is pursuing the active recruitment of under-18s.
See discussion beginning on Page 10. More
Is ASVAB useful in predicting
success in college - or not?
The official ASVAB website says the test does a poor job as a predictor of success for students who desire to go to college. The DOD site admits that the ASVAB is an improper substitute for the ACT or SAT because "the ASVAB is designed to predict success in the military.”
From the website: "Why can’t I use my ACT or SAT score to enter the military? "The ASVAB is designed for a different purpose than the ACT and SAT. The ASVAB is designed to predict success in the military, while the ACT and SAT are designed to predict success in college. As a result, the content of the ASVAB is different from the content of the ACT and SAT, and different examinee populations take the ASVAB and ACT and SAT tests. Therefore, performance on the ACT or SAT is not necessarily a very good substitute for performance on the ASVAB, or vice versa."
In contrast to the above, examine this snippet fed to schools to promote the ASVAB to students, "Whether you’re planning on college, a technical school, or you’re just not sure yet, the ASVAB Career Exploration Program can provide you with important information about your skills, abilities and interests – and help put you on the right course for a satisfying career. See your counselor for more information."
Outgoing Recruiting Commander Admits ASVAB is Losing Popularity in the Nation's Schools
In one of his last public comments regarding ASVAB testing, departing US Army Recruiting Commander Maj. Gen. Allen Batschelet admitted the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is losing its popularity in the nation’s high schools. “We’re seeing an increasing trend with schools shutting us out from access or making access pretty restricted,” Batschelet said. “Schools are either choosing to not administer the ASVAB or withholding results from recruiters.”
“There are unintended consequences, Batschelet explained, “because we think it is indirectly sending the signal that service to country in the military is not an honorable profession or something to which you should aspire.”
Batschelet is drawing the wrong conclusions to explain the test’s unpopularity.
Sorry, general. It’s the privacy! School officials are discerning the malfeasance of the ASVAB testing program and parents feel they should be entitled to make decisions regarding the release of their children’s personal information, rather than the recruiting command!
Why work against military recruiting?
The Department of Defense is in desperate need of reform. There’s just not a lot of truly visionary thinking going on between those shaved temples in the minds of the men who run the recruiting command. American society has undergone revolutionary change in the last generation but the Pentagon is very, very slow to catch on and they’re deservedly suffering the consequence for their reactionary stances on the most pressing issues they face. They talk the talk but little changes.
The tide is turning and the recruiting command is seriously feeling the pinch. As long as the US Military Entrance Processing Command sees us and others who seek reform as threats and enemies of the state, there's little chance despicable conditions in the chain of command will improve. We are their brothers and sisters and we also love this country, although we view things very differently...
Consider the startling statistic that there have been more than 20,000 deserters in the Army alone during the period from 2006 to 2014. Desertion is so common the military often looks the other way. The Army has pursued just 1,900 cases of desertion since 2001, and most of these prosecutions have resulted in little more than a slap on the wrist.
Desertions are just one manifestation of a dysfunctional American military. The overwhelming majority of Americans who are ripe for military service aren’t interested or don’t qualify. The recruiting command is experiencing its greatest crisis since the end of the draft in 1973, although most Americans are oblivious.
The military's marketing pitch sounds pretty enticing but 15 percent of all enlistees don't make it through initial-entry training, and another 25 percent leave during their first permanent duty assignment in the operational Army. The means 40% of all Army enlistees never complete their first term. (2) The U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command is headed for a calamity on many fronts. More.
New Hampshire Passes
The American Public Health Association calls for cessation of ASVAB testing for recruiting purposes.
Nothing in the Recruiter's manual advises recruiters to reveal the risks their prospects face, neither the physical hazards on the battlefield nor the psychological trauma and its aftereffects." More
U.N. calls on US to stop mandatory military testing
In early 2013 The UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Obama Administration to "Ensure that schools, parents and pupils are made aware of the voluntary nature of the ASVAB before consenting to the participation into it."
See Concluding Observations IV 21 (c)
Recruiting & Testing in the Parochial Schools
Summer is the season for high school football practice. Two years ago, the players at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., got a different kind of coaching. For the first time, U.S. Army recruiters volunteered to run Central Catholics’ Rams through their strength and conditioning paces—helping them prepare for the annual “Holy War” match-up against arch-rival Jesuit High School.
According to an article in the Recruiter Journal (the monthly magazine for Army recruiting), the Army “footprint” for the big game included a Humvee parked outside the stadium, and a pre-kickoff event in which local recruiters placed “unit patch decals from various Army divisions” onto players’ helmets.
“Not once at practice did we talk about the Army,” said one of the recruiters. “It wasn’t about the Army, it was about how we can integrate ourselves into the community in a way the community will accept us and not feel like we are a threat.” In 2014, one of Central Catholic’s standout players was selected to participate in the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a national football showcase which has been described as both the “crown jewel” in Army marketing strategy and a “springboard to bolster recruiting efforts.” Each year, a different coach is selected to lead the squad of the nation’s top high school players, and in 2013 the squad was led by a man who by then was quite well known in Army recruiting circles: Central Catholic’s football coach, Steve Pyne.
In recent years, the Pentagon’s military recruiting capabilities have experienced a quantum leap—including unprecedented access to Christian schools.