As the President of Juneau Veterans for Peace, I was intrigued by a story describing National Guard Sgt. Seth Beebe's presentation to the Juneau School Board ("Recruiter complains about school protesters," October 17), and a subsequent letter to the editor on that topic.
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Beebe reportedly complained about "protesters" at Juneau-Douglas High School while military recruiters are present: "Every time we visit, we're faced with a protest," he said.
The sergeant also complained about the content of some of the materials provided to the students. The sergeant errs.
First, the recruitment-related activities of our organization are not protests; rather, they are an effort to ensure that high school students who are considering a career in the military have a full understanding of their options. Providing this information is not protesting, it is simply ensuring truth in recruiting.
Second, we stand by our materials. If a person believes that it contains misinformation, we would appreciate being notified (at firstname.lastname@example.org),so that we can make any necessary corrections. Recently, in consideration of complaints, we have decided to quit using the brochure "Battered by the Pentagon."
It is unfortunate that Beebe took his concerns directly to the School Board, thus choosing not to discuss them with us. This is particularly hard for us to understand because, about six months ago, I personally invited him to appear on our radio program to explain the National Guard recruiting activities. The invitation was unambiguously declined (according to Beebe, his "chain of command" directed him not to accept the invitation). On other occasions, National Guard personnel have been invited to speak at activities sponsored by our group; in each and every case, our invitation has been declined.
Finally, the superintendent was correct when she noted that the activities were being conducted in accordance with Juneau School District policy. Accordingly, Veterans for Peace will continue to be involved at JDHS. Attempts to interfere with our activities, or to intimidate our volunteers (as has recently happened), will be vigorously contested.
In closing, we join with our fellow veterans and the entire Juneau community in celebrating the return of our National Guard contingent from Kuwait. We have supported those troops with phone cards, participation in the "Care Package Drive," and in other ways. We are delighted to see them safely home and thank them for their service.
President, Veterans For Peace, Chapter 100