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Published: Monday, 10/17/2005

Schools not farm systems for military

Recent Blade reports should raise awareness by students, parents, and school staff regarding military recruitment in schools. It is disappointing that many local students' names have been released to military recruiters. In other areas, when students and parents were made aware of their rights to protect personal data, the great majority of the names are withheld.

But only 2 percent or less of eligible students' names and contact information in most northwest Ohio schools are withheld from military recruiters this school year. Private schools receiving federal funds are not exempt.

Students must now be unyielding with unwanted phone calls and home visits. They need to study perspectives other than military recruiters' with declining quotas and commanders looking for bonuses.

Students also need to be savvy. Is the "free" water bottle or key chain really worth having personal contact information entered into a database created by the Pentagon? It's called JAMRS; do some web searching. Isn't one's intelligence offended by hard sells? Why would a recruiter's hard sell be cool?

Parents, there are many alternative perspectives to the military. They can begin at American Friends Service Committee's web site www.afsc.org/youthmil to gain a perspective on college financing and jobs training. Balance what a recruiter says. Insist schools enact policies protecting students from relentless recruiting in school.

The community has a responsibility as well. The federal and state laws allowing schools to be turned into farm systems for the military should be thrown out.

Young people who really want the military are not hard to find. They would be wise to verify all promises and read the contract carefully before signing. If the laws change, everything they promise, even written promises, can go out the window. It says so in the contract.

PEGGY DALY-MASTERNAK

Drummond Road

Toledo Board of Education President Larry Sykes is vowing to restrict military recruiters at Toledo's high schools because he (along with the Student and Family Rights and Privacy Committee, a group of almost 12 people) disagrees with the practice of military recruiting. I wonder how many taxpayers and/or parents in Toledo happen to agree with the practice.

I personally am thankful that I spoke with a recruiter in high school. I did not come from a poor family, but I did choose to serve in the Army. I was able to receive job training, travel abroad, and earn enough money to pay for college. Today, I have a good job and I am very thankful that I was able to serve my country.

Mr. Sykes and the Student and Family Rights and Privacy Committee are working to eliminate opportunities for our young people of Toledo. Maybe it is time Toledo look for a new school board president.

DONALD P. JONES

Oregon

It is very sad that S. Amjad Hussain's Oct. 10 column says it is easy to understand why there are so many anti-American views. There is only one reason and it is not our Middle East policy. It is our quest for peace and freedom for all people no matter where they live. The Middle East policy is used as an excuse to support and promote terrorism, and in my view, there can never be an excuse for hating anyone.

Since 9/11 and our fight against terrorism, the world has turned its back on what is right and supported what is wrong. These people have become hostile because of the hate and lies that are preached by their leaders, not because of what is happening on the ground. There are no "root causes of terrorism" that he wants us to understand because there is never a reason for terrorism.

The world has twisted the facts and tried to make excuses for horrendous acts by terrorist and extremists. It is time the world woke up and supported the struggle for freedom and peace for all people throughout the world. Only when the world begins to understand this will we truly be able to achieve peace for everyone. As we have seen through the incredible natural disasters that have struck the world, we must stand together to help each other no matter what. We are all one people put on this earth to share, love, and work together for the good of mankind.

RICKI RUBIN

Sylvania

I am the treasurer of a small, inner-city, after-school program called Grand Central Station. We provide homework help, tutoring, a computer lab, and a nutritious meal to 30 children three days a week during the school year. Grand Central Station's participants attend Glenwood Elementary School near the intersection of Central and Detroit Avenues. All participants live at or below the poverty level. Our after-school program is a safe, nurturing environment for some of the most overlooked children in our community.

Toledo Public Schools closed Glenwood this year as part of the school rebuilding plan. Our Grand Central Station kids now attend Nathan Hale Elementary School. Five "yellow buses" transport the Glenwood children to Nathan Hale. All five yellow buses drive past the intersection of Central and Scottwood avenues, where Grand Central Station is located.

Grand Central Station has requested a bus stop at the corner of Central and Scottwood so our kids can arrive at the after-school program promptly and safely. Unfortunately, the transportation director at TPS cannot or will not approve a yellow bus stop at that corner.

Since TPS is the organization that uprooted these kids from their neighborhood elementary school, and since Grand Central Station directly helps kids with skills that may allow them to pass those all-important proficiency tests, and since TPS yellow buses drive past the Central/Scottwood intersection anyway, it seems a "no-brainer" to add the bus stop.

TPS' goal is the same as ours. We want to help kids succeed. We need a yellow bus stop at Central and Scottwood!

KATE WHITMORE

Berdan Avenue

During the past few years, several of our major arts organizations have seen a shift of philosophy in their sense of responsibility and openness to the people of this community. This has occurred in spite of the efforts of Mayor Jack Ford and his arts director, Susan Reams, who have worked tirelessly to project positive goals on this front.

First, the board of the Toledo Ballet chose not to renew Nigel Burgoine as its director, against the clear wishes of a majority of its patrons. Thankfully, a very large number of families supported Mr. Burgoine and his wife, Anne Marie Getz, as a new school, the Ballet Theatre of Toledo, was established. It is already thriving.

The Toledo Museum of Art has limited dramatically its opportunities for local performers to use its facilities. The museum was once a favorite venue for local performing artists, with Judy Weinberg the performers' cheerful liaison to the audience.

Finally, as a violinist who played for 12 years with the Toledo Symphony, I was told I was no longer welcome when I questioned the integrity of certain actions by both administrators and musician members of the orchestra.

Although community members have listened intently, board members have ignored my concerns, as did the new music director, Stefan Sanderling.

What messages have these organizations sent my 10-year-old daughter, who once had such a positive outlook on the world of the arts that both she and her parents loved?

Thank goodness for the many individual artists and grass-roots arts organizations that maintain freedom of thought, speech, and purpose.

CECILIA JOHNSON

Gunckel Boulevard

Does the Forum contributor complaining about the smell of the Lucas County Wastewater Treatment Plant want some cheese and crackers with her whine?

The residents of Point Place have had to put up with the smell of Toledo's sewage treatment plant and a former company that dried waste, and, in years gone by, the smell of smoldering dump fires.

I guess NIMBY is still alive and well in Perrysburg.

TIMOTHY PECSENYE

Woodmont Road



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