tabling at Buffalo Grove HS September 17, 2018


Welcome back! First visit of the school year.

I'm at BGHS today. On a whim I put out an old sign up sheet, and a couple girls have signed up. It's actually the peace group sheet. Maybe if I follow up with an email, they'll respond?

No table was in place for me when I arrived.  A pleasant security guy arranged for a table and chair.  We agreed that we're here, and most teachers are here out of love for young people, liking them and also being committed  their well being.

Well-mannered young people are taking candy. A few are taking literature, mostly zines.  The candy has been sitting in my hot car for a week, so I tried a random sample. It's fine.

Most students ignore my table.  Others grab candy and move on. Some stop and ask what this is about.  Their responses are invariably positive.  I don't think this school is fertile recruiting ground for the military.  Or maybe it is, and future recruits are avoiding any table.

A girl came by and said she wants to go into the biomedical sciences.  She also said she's in JROTC, and the military is a very real possibility for her future, but she's open to other perspectives. She took a copy of the old "What Every Girl Should Know . . ." brochure. I told her I was glad she had taken it, and it was probably the most important thing she would read today.  Note that I didn't hand it to her as I often do with girls who say they're going to enlist.  She chose it of her own volition.

I probably have some of the newer "What Every Girl Should Know . . . " brochures in my boxes.  I'll have to find them.  I don't think BGHS demographics would find them appealing. But girls at EGHS might.  Girls at RMHS might also.

I have our flier about Parkland students sitting front and center of our table. No notice by students. :-(

A tenth grader named Sophia stopped by and signed up that she's interested in starting a peace club. She's living up to her name, which means "wisdom." :-) Sophia hopes to attend NIU after high school and major in sociology or something related.  Sophia didn't linger long enough to discuss Parkland students.

Girls usually seem to travel in two's or three's, with one dominant girl.  The group of girls I mentioned earlier were a trio whose leader came to our table.  I've seen several pairs or trios where a submissive girl gazed with interest at the table, but kept following the leader.  Of course, I'm not allowed (by schools) to flag them down, even if one girl looks like she wants to be flagged down.

I have excellent literature on the table. Hardly anyone takes it.  Some do, though. Today's most popular literature has been old zines.

A number of students have taken peace patches. The ones with peace signs continue to be the most popular patches. Starburst candies are the most popular items on the table.

Lunch is finished. I'll head home now.


tabling at Wheeling HS May 7, 2018

Since Memorial Day is this month, we decided to do a display with the total number (251) soldiers from Illinois that have been killed in the current conflicts; since 9/11. We decided to group them by county. Shari and Jon put together these amazing tombstones for each county with the total number killed.

There certainly was more interest in the table because of that. The tombstones were very eye-catching and a number of people stopped by. It seemed to me that the teachers and staff were much more serious about what the tombstones represented than the students.

Two Hispanic boys took a flyer on the top 10 jobs. We talked about how several in the top 10 involve new green technology like solar panel installer, wind turbine installer, etc.

One women thanked us for being there.


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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. :-(


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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. 


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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

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