NWSUBPEP Blog

tabling at WHS March 10, 2015

After my dreadfully boring day at Buffalo Grove yesterday (not one student stopped by my table) I decided maybe I needed better signage. So I made a colorful sign that said "Answer the question; pick a lollipop". Whether it was the new sign or just a different group of students, it seemed to work. Talked to a lot of students and actually ran out of questions.

But first I had to resolve the conflict with a group that was selling lollipops for Operation Snowball. Operation Snowball, which I found out, is an international alcohol, tobacco and other drug-use prevention program focusing on leadership development. I moved my stuff to the opposite end of the hall so we didn't compete.

There was also a table selling tickets to the turn around dance. When they showed up, all the attention shifted to their table.

The students were having a really hard time with the question. [What has the U.S. war in Afghanistan (October 7, 2001 to December
28, 2014) accomplished?] You could tell they were straining to get the "right" answer; thinking that there must be some reason we went there and spent so much money and lost so many lives. One young woman was clearly puzzling on the answer "We built schools, right?" "Something about oil, right?" But mostly I received a lot of "I don't know". Which is certainly a legitimate answer.

Libby

Tabling at Elk Grove High School February 20

My Elk Grove table was quite busy this month with many freshman students stopping by, as well as, juniors and a few seniors.

Have approximately 15/16 responses to the question of the month: What has the U.S. accomplished by being in Afghanistan? Most students preferred to remain anonymous and knew very little about our even being in Afghanistan.

In addition, I was able to pass out quite a number of the ‘rules to enter the peace  essay contest’ from the faith based activist group. I offered a little incentive from us and promised each student that submits an essay and also will allow us to publish it in our zine…a free NWSUBPEP t-shirt just for entering and submitting their essay to the contest and our website. They don’t have to win – just submit their essay! Some were excited about that; we’ll see if we receive any entrants.

Esther

Tabling at Wheeling HS February 9, 2015

Several interested students stopped by to ask about us. We had a long discussion with a young man who wants to be either an architect or an actor. Another young woman aspires to be an electrical engineer. It's going to take some effort on her part. She doesn't have a lot of money but she plans to work and attend Harper and then eventually transfer to a four-year university to finish. If so, she will be the first in her family to attend college. Her parents didn't even complete high school. Her mother dropped out and her father got his GED after dropping out.

We got several to respond to the question we have been asking - "What has the U.S. war in Afghanistan (October 7, 2001 to December 28, 2014) accomplished?" Several more took the slip of paper and said they would email us a response.

Inspired by a short article I read in the newspaper I put together a half-page handout on the number of children that were killed in armed conflict around the world; just in 2014. They estimate around 2,500 children. This kind of data captures the attention of most of the students. Something about killing children just seems wrong. (Which it is).

Libby & Nancy

Tabling at PHS February 3, 2015

Although we had decided at the beginning of the school year not to return to Prospect this year, we changed our mind after analyzing the opt-out statistics and realizing that they had pretty much remained stagnant. Also with the re-entry to Afghanistan (as though we ever left!) and the chaos in Iraq, it seemed appropriate.

But there wasn't a lot of traffic at the table. I talked to several students and several more grabbed suckers as they rushed to class. We were asking students to respond to the following question: "What has the U.S. war in Afghanistan (October 7, 2001 to December 28, 2014) accomplished?" One young woman summed it up succintly - "I have absolutely no idea".

I enjoyed a long discussion with one of the security guards; an African-American man that has been there for many years. He is a certified teacher and has been trying to get a teaching position in the District for years. At the same time they talk about increasing the diversity of their teaching staff they won't hire him to teach social studies. Strange? Do you think race has anything to do with it?

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Tabling at WHS January 13, 2015

I was struck by the United Nations character at the school. The display case next to my table showing students of the month featured Hispanic surnames, African, Italian, Eastern European. Students were speaking Spanish and Polish in the hallways.

I had made stickers with my favorite Martin Luther King Jr anti-war quote "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom." I was able to pass out quite a few stickers. I was not, however, able to get anyone to fill out one of the questionnaires asking the question "What has the U.S. war in Afghanistan (October 7, 2001 to December 28, 2014) accomplished?" But it's the day before finals. The students seemed distracted and a bit squirrely. I also noticed that since the school has started giving all the students tablets, they spend a lot of time fiddling with their electronic devices. So it appears we aren't getting the students that wandered over to our table out of boredom.

All the District 214 schools have a police officer roaming the halls. I found out today that the guns they carry are real guns; not tasers. I just assumed they were tasers since they're in a school. That's disturbing.

Libby

 

 

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