22.7.04

THIS is disturbing...

DallasNews.com: Uncle Sam Can Wait:
"When the phone rang one morning, the caller ID announced: U.S. Govt. I couldn't imagine who it might be.

It was Uncle Sam. He wanted my son.

It was the new Marine Corps recruiter for my 17-year-old's high school in Mesquite. Rather than admit my son was a slug-a-bed, I told the 'gunny' my son wasn't home. When he said he'd call back, I told him not to bother, my son planned to go to college and wasn't the least interested in military service.

I picked up the phone 30 minutes later to find the recruiter had called back and my son had answered. I lost my temper and told the recruiter to leave the boy alone.

My son was nearly as angry at my rudeness as I was at the nerve of the recruiter. An e-mail exchange with the John Horn High principal and some research on the Internet told me what was going on: A provision in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act requires school districts to provide military recruiters with the names, addresses and phone numbers of students 17 and older."
I think that a 17-year-old boy is capable of making up his own mind about serving. And we all know that children don't always have the same ideas/values as their parents and that often they choose another path. So who's to say that this child wouldn't have rather entered the military? Or that he's not able to politely and firmly say no on his own behalf?

However, that NCLB included this provision is appalling. Simply jaw-breakingly appalling. There are opt-out options, but the provision just never should have been enacted. Don't 18-year-olds have to register with the SSS? That should be enough for Uncle Sam.

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