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From Draft NOtices, November - December 2002

Anti-War Activists Leaflet High Schools

— Molly Morgan

San Diego area activists have been busy this fall encouraging high school students to think about the government's proposed war against Iraq and providing them with information not available to them via the corporate media. This action grew out of the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice in coordination with San Diegans to Stop the Violence Against Iraq, using COMD's leafleting experience as a model. Activists wanted to focus on providing high school students information to balance the barrage of militarism they receive from TV, radio, video games, movies, and the military in their schools. As has been reported previously in Draft NOtices, the Pentagon has been focusing on high school and even middle and elementary school children with increasing intensity in order to indoctrinate them before they become voting citizens.

On September 18, and again on October 23, teams of people handed one-page leaflets to students outside their high schools as they arrived for their first class of the day. The first time, 45 volunteers leafleted seven area schools and distributed about 3,350 leaflets. On the second date, 42 volunteers handed out 4,000 leaflets at eight schools. About a third of the leafleters were students, some of whom were able to give out fliers on school property while other volunteers stayed on the sidewalk, enabling the teams to get the fliers into the hands of more students overall. At the second event, leafleters also handed out lollipops with a label on the wrapper saying, "Don't be a sucker. No war on Iraq."

The first version of the flier asked, "Why War? Why Iraq?" and provided information about the issues involved and Web site links for more information. The second version was clearly anti-war and included specific information about the illegitimacy of the government's actions. COMD's high school students' rights brochure (which can be downloaded from was also available for young people who were interested in more information about getting involved. COMD's Web site was included on both fliers and experienced a 50% increase in visits in the days immediately after the first leafleting.

Training was available for volunteers preceding each leafleting date. Experienced activists from COMD provided information about legal rights, safety procedures, appropriate behavior, and effective ways of educating students and school officials about the war. A Web site for volunteers was set up at, where a copy of the latest high school leaflet can be obtained.

In most cases, volunteers ran out of fliers before all the students had arrived at school. There were no major incidents with either police or school officials. Reports from volunteers included:

At Crawford HS, which has a large Muslim student population, there was a lot of positive feedback about the leafleters.

A Point Loma HS student said that the leaflets gave the social studies teachers something good to talk about for a change.

At Lincoln HS, students asked leafleters for additional fliers at the request of their teacher, and staff whom volunteers spoke to were supportive.

Students at San Dieguito Academy HS had prior approval from the principal to leaflet inside as people got off the buses. A substitute teacher told the leafleters she was glad to see them and that she would put fliers in the teachers' mailboxes at La Costa Canyon HS. At least two students at this school plan to make their own leaflets and continue the work.

At some schools, parents who were dropping their children off asked for fliers.

At Vista HS, two school officials stood near the leafleters with trash cans in order to limit littering; unfortunately, this effectively encouraged some students not to read the fliers.

At Madison HS, a student leafleter took literature in for friends in JROTC. Some hostile students made racial slurs and suggested using violence against people of Middle Eastern descent.

At Sweetwater HS, all but one of the uniformed JROTC students took flyers.

In general, the response by both volunteers and students has been positive, and more events are planned for the future.

This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (


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