Georgia: Peace Action Team, new faith-based counter-recruitment group
20/08/2007 / anscr / Americus Times-Recorder - A newly formed group, Peace Action Team (PAT) holds a forum from 7-9 p.m. Aug. 6 at Lake Blackshear Regional Library to discuss military recruitment in the area high schools. The event is free and open to the public; high school students and parents are encouraged to attend.
PAT is a group of concerned Christians who have come together in Americus to explore and implement ways of equality, peace and justice for all.
The forum will be facilitated by Christina Repoley, peace education coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The local PAT is collaborating with AFSC to develop ways to inform high school students and parents about the degree of access military recruiters have in the public schools and the methods often employed to entice students to enlist. The forum will also help equip those interested in working with the public schools and young people to counter military recruitment and find viable alternatives to military service.
A 20-minute video — “Before You Enlist!” — will be screened at the forum that documents the risks and misconceptions of military life, explores conscientious objection, selective service registration and U.S. militarism around the world.
“Public schools are frequent targets of military advertising, military youth programs and visits by military recruiters,” said Sanders Thornburgh, PAT coordinator. “Even though military recruiters do have the right to be on our campuses, they do not have the right to abuse that privilege. However, parents do have the right to keep recruiters away from their children.
“We hope that high school parents and students will come to the Aug. 6 forum,” Thornburgh said. “It’s important for all of us to have as much information as we can about the military and how it relates to our youth in this community. This workshop will be an excellent starting point by which to do that,” said Thornburgh.
Dennis McMahon, superintendent of the Sumter County Schools, stated in a brief phone interview with the Times-Recorder, that neither the school system nor any members of the Board of Education had received complaints in reference to the military recruiters’ presence in the schools.
“We (the school system) have a good relationship with not just military recruiters but also college recruiters. Both of these entities help promote character development in our students and help them with their career goals,” he said.
According to McMahon, the school system has no intention in ending its relationship with either entity.