We Are Not Your Soldiers in the Schools 2021/2022

Debra Sweet | July 14, 2022

We-Are-Not-Your-Soldiers-in-the-Schools-2021-20222-768x644It seems the U.S. military is having a recruitment crisis. Good.

They're offering up to $50K recruitment signing "bonuses" and still their numbers are lower than they want. The military's explanation is that there's something wrong with the culture that people aren't into "serving" now; they don't have an immediate family history of people in the military, and there's no immediate crisis drawing enlistment.

Does that mean we don't need to actively oppose the heavy recruiting of youth into the U.S. military now?
No. As veterans with We Are Not Your Soldiers have told us, 9/11 was enough to entice people into "serving" imperialism in the war of terror on the Middle East. Our mission is to convey to potential recruits that they could not only lose their lives and health, but their humanity. We're very glad to work with the team of veterans who speak to students with WANYS.
Here's the latest on the 21/22 school year from Stephanie Rugoff, who co-ordinates these visits.

Thanks to you, our supporters, we have had another productive year, without charging any fee to any school! Seven veterans engaged in discussion with some 1000 students, presenting their stories filled with information about the U.S. military and wars of aggression most students had never been exposed to before. Thank you for helping make it happen!

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As the year went on, more wars, more tragedy, more chaos – we continued to visit schools, still all remotely. In most cases, students were back in their classrooms. Some classes continued solely on-line while a few had hybrid modalities. While the majority of schools we visited were in New York City or within New York State, we also “traveled” to the states of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Washington and Oregon. We have mastered remote technology, making it very easy to go anywhere we receive a request and permitting our speakers, who are located around the country, to engage in visits without extensive travel and extended time off from work, school and family. On the other hand, we miss the opportunities to engage in more one-on-one discussions which often occur when we spend the day in a building. We also were invited to be interviewed on a radio show, for Memorial Day, hosted by a former NYC teacher whose classes we had visited over several years.

It was not easy for educators or students to return to their buildings after more than a year away. There was a lot of transitioning to be worked through, including for those who opted to remain totally or partially on-line. Consequently, we made 8 school visits during the fall semester and 16 in the spring bringing us to a total of 24 school visits – some were repeated visits to the same school. We made 11 college and 12 high school visits and, in the late spring, one middle school visit. While at these schools, we made presentations to 50 classes. Read more here.

Watch Will Griffin, Army veteran, who had tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, share his story and a special not-to-be-missed slide show filled with historical and current background information as he presents to a class in an alternative high school in NYC.

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Watch Lyle Rubin, Marine veteran who was stationed in Afghanistan. This short video contains excerpts of Lyle’s talk with a college ethics class in NYC where he concentrates on depersonalization and dehumanization in Boot Camp and transformational issues.

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