Anti-war group claims message stifled — Elgin news, photos and events — TribLocal.com
by Melissa Jenco, triblocal.com
April 15th 2011
Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice is pushing for permission to continue giving high school students literature that some have complained paints a negative picture of the military.
Members of the group told the Elgin-based School District U-46 school board Monday that administrators at Elgin High School no longer will let them distribute some of their material, which focuses on veteran unemployment rates, sexual harassment of women and the military contract. Members usually staff a table at the school monthly in order to counteract what military recruiters hand out.
“It is in the best interest of students to have as much information as possible before making such an important decision,” said Bettina Perillo, a board member. But after some students complained, administrators told the group to stop.
Washington Elementary parent Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, who staffs a similar table at Larkin High School, told the school board she is concerned the military is being promoted to younger and younger students.
“I believe the school board must ask a serious question about how promotion of the military is creeping into our schools, carrying with it the promotion of violence,” she said.
The board also heard from a man lost his son fighting in Afghanistan and feels the military lied to him. An Iraq War veteran who now shares his experiences with youth spoke, too.
“I’ve never been anti-military, probably never will be, but I do believe as a young 16-, 17-year-old child you should be given a balanced understanding of what you’re getting into, especially into something you’re going to be doing for a career that could possibly cost you your life,” veteran Melvin Lyons said.
Members and supporters of Fox Valley argue they are passive, only talking to the students who approach their table. They have been making visits to Elgin High School since 2006 and also visit South Elgin and Larkin high schools.
When questions were raised two or three years ago, about the group’s presence, a new policy was formulated on access to students.
The policy states recruiters, whether for college, military, or alternatives to the military, cannot interfere with students’ education, talk to students outside the designated area, provide information to students who don’t ask for it, require students to take predictive tests, sponsor drawings or recruit when students are unable to leave.
U-46 Chief Legal Officer Pat Broncato said the district will look into Fox Valley’s complaints about not being able to hand out literature.
Elgin High School Principal Dave Smiley declined comment Tuesday.
Original Page: http://triblocal.com/elgin/2011/04/26/anti-war-group-claims-message-stifled/
Shared from Read It Later