NWSUBPEP Blog

Tabling at Elk Grove HS May 3, 2018

I'm at EGHS today.  Our little cemetery is getting a little bit more attention than we got at RMHS.

Students in the dance program are selling cookies for a dollar apiece at the table adjacent to ours. They're getting a little more action than we are. The cookies look like frosted sugar cookies from Jewel, placed in individual plastic sandwich bags.

As planned, I crammed the whole cemetery onto a smaller table.  I still have room for a few stacks of our literature.  

A few students and security staffers have stopped by and asked about the table. Most either ignore it or take a candy and walk away. The few who have stopped to talk have seemed in agreement with our perspective that it's sad young people have lost their lives fighting for profits for wealthiest Americans.

It's hard to find an individual county's headstone in our little cemetery unless you know where to look. One security guy came over and said in an accusatory tone that Cook County wasn't here.  I showed it to him.  55 deaths.  He pointed out that in the same time period more people have died from gun violence in Chicago. I guess his point is that young people are better off going into the military than living as civilians in Chicago.

Students most affected by the loss of life we're showing are girls. Girls at the next table don't want to look at our table because the cemetery makes them sad.  It doesn't seem to occur to them that opposing U.S. wars might stop some people from getting killed.

The very sweet maintenance person who sets up our table each month came by. She looked at our display, and was sad at the number of people killed in combat.  

That's a typical reaction from young and old. Everybody's sad about it, but it doesn't seem to occur to them that we might intentionally teach young people not to kill other people.  Many well-meaning people still seem to think the military is noble rather than destructive.

I wish our democratically elected legislature didn't think it appropriate to force public high schools to be complicit in pressuring young people to become paid killers available for slaughter at the hands of paid killers from other nations. :-(

Lynne

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tabling at Rolling Meadows HS 5/1/2018

Here's a picture of today's display at Rolling Meadows High School. It includes the array of headstones made by Shari and Jon. The stones show, by county, how many troops from each Illinois county have been killed in combat 2001-2017.

Students in the first lunch period showed little interest in our table. But those who came over and found out about the ad hoc cemetery tended to express appreciation for the dead people's service, not even a bit of dismay that our young people have been slaughtered for the political and financial goals of wealthy and powerful Americans.  I guess I should've asked kids what they thought these people had died for.  They would probably parrot the usual stuff about they died for our country or to keep us free or something.

Our friend the special education aide came by. He festooned the wheelchair of a special needs student with peace patches. 

Lynne

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tabling at Wheeling HS April 16, 2018

I expected a quiet day and it was. Nothing on my table really drew much attention. Hopefully if we follow through on our plan for May we will have better attention.

Long discussion with young woman who plans to attend school in Missouri and wants to double-major -- biomedical engineering and video gaming. I'm still trying to process how you combine those two things but she seems to have a plan. She is also learning to play the violin; paying for her own lessons.

We informed the students that stopped by about the antiwar march on Saturday, April 21. Unfortunately, it's difficult for many of them to get downtown.

After talking with the young woman who is double-majoring, we had a long discussion about how bright and talented these kids are and how school really smothers that. So much time is taken up with testing and rout memorization. What if students could study whatever they wanted and go to classes based on their interest? There has been some pushback from parents and teachers on the amount of testing with some parents opting out of the testing. Would be interesting to see the result.

Libby & Roger

tabling at Elk Grove HS April 5, 2018

The organization at the next table is called, "Teen Resources."  One of their students gave me their card. They are basically doing the same sort of table presentation as we do sometimes. They have a wheel like a Wheel of Fortune Wheel that you spin, and you then answer a question. Whether you answer correctly or not, you win. You get your choice of candy or a button. Everybody who comes to the table gets a free pencil and a card, a business card, and the student I talked with gave me one of those cards and a pencil and two pin on ribbons.

 I talked with one of the students, and they explain very politely. The best I can tell, it is pretty much a student resources organization. It is run by students. They all seem to be awesome young people. Lots of people are flocking to their table. We probably could learn something from them, but I don't know what it is. Some people who go over to their table then come over two ours. One of them was a female Junior, who actually had a meaningful conversation with me. I gave her a copy of the flyer about the upcoming peace demonstration in downtown Chicago. The student who came to my table right after visiting the student resources table seemed like a keeper, but of course, I did not get her name. She is a junior. She is College Bound. She is interested in what we are doing. I gave her a flyer about the anti-war event in Chicago April 21. I asked her if she had participated in the walkout, and she had done so.

They had a walk out here at Elk Grove High School early on, and they also had the one that was being done nationally. Both events were supported by faculty. And by the administration. She participated in both. For the first one, she was unprepared, because it was sort of a surprise. But for the second one she had planned in advance, and she printed out a bunch of Flyers about the event and stopping gun violence, and shared them with a lot of people that day. Apparently a number of her fellow students gave her a hard time for walking out of the class. But all students who wanted to walk out had the administration's permission to do so, provided they did not miss the bulk of the class, and provided their behavior was orderly and appropriate during the walk out

Right now I see a student visiting the next table. She is wearing a camouflage backpack emblazoned, "USMC." A necklace that looks like a military dog tag dangles from the backpack.

Lynne

tabling at Rolling Meadows HS April 3, 2018

Tuesday was an interesting day at RMHS. A few students came to the table, grabbed candy, and took off. Students were not the interesting part. Faculty were.

A teacher whose name I didn't get, and a social education aide came to the table and talked with Roger and me. Roger asked the teacher, who graduated from Prospect, and knows Libby, what we should do to attract student interest. He recommended rap music. Well, the only rap music I have is the sound track from "Hamilton.".  Does anyone know of a rap album or artist whose music would mesh with our message? I don't. I’ll have to ask around.  My conversation with the special education aide was even more interesting.

Rolling Meadows high school now has a student organization that is focused on justice issues. He gave me the name of the organization, as well as the faculty sponsor of the organization.

Name of the organization is M. O. S. T.  It stands for Mustangs Organized for Social Transformation. The Faculty sponsor is Gabriel Popovich, who is an English teacher. The special education aide who gave me this information is Just Ibarra Flores. I'll have to go online to the RMHS website to get their email addresses and communicate with them.  

Lynne

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