A new group dedicated to projects for peace has recently been formed on the North Fork. The group, 'North Fork People of Conscience' (NFPC) had its start with the March 20 Peace Vigil in Greenport. At that vigil photos of soldiers who died in Iraq were displayed at the American Legion Hall!
Since then members of the group have turned their attention to military recruiting efforts in the schools. The federal 'No Child Left Behind Act' facilitates these recruiting activities by mandating schools to give the names, addresses and phone numbers of their 17 and 18 year old high school students to the recruiters or face a military investigation and ultimate loss of all federal funding for failure to comply. Parents may prevent this information from going to the military by signing an 'opt-out' form which the schools are also required to send.
In many towns in the US including most of Suffolk County groups are organizing to make students and parents aware of the requirements of the law, by meeting with school personel, students and faculty as well as by leafleting in shopping malls. The North Fork group decided to take this issue to the Southold Town Board at a meeting this past Tuesday April 12.
Pat Hovey of NFPC sent this report on the meeting:
"Last night seemed to go very well. I read a prepared statement from the North Fork People of Conscience to the town board asking them to facilitate a meeting with the school administrators, teachers, and parent representatives in order to formulate a unified policy regarding the release of our children's personal information to military recruiters. We stressed that the No Child Left Behind Act demands equal access to our children (the same as college recruiters or employers) but not intrusive access which is what we are getting. The Town Supervisor, Josh Horton said he was interested in pursuing this matter, and that he will get back to us. We hope that he will, but in the meantime we will continue to push this agenda with or without the Town Board's help."
If you would like to be kept up to date on the activities of North Fork People of Conscience send an email to Pat Hovey at email@example.com
For more info on efforts to counter military recruiting see www.spv.active.ws (suffolk county groups) and www.rethinkingschools.org or www.afsc.org/youthmil.htm.