Teen Peace Affiliations

Teen Peace
Conscientious Objector Project

Are you a Teenager or Young Adult
Concerned about Peace/War/being Drafted?
What is a Conscientious Objector (CO)?
How do I become a Conscientious Objector?

(This Page is for Concerned Adults Too)


Why Worry? There is no Draft Today?

The continuing war in Iraq is stretching our military capability.  Daily news reports of soldiers dying in Iraq, enlistment numbers falling, and greater conflict and resistance in Iraq and other countries leads me to believe that a draft will be needed to feed the military the huge numbers of bodies it needs.  I am greatly concerned for my son. I am also worried that my daughter may find herself in the first draft of women in the United States. I hoped that the United States wouldn't take the path of war, and now I cannot stop worrying, and have decided to try to take some action for peace. If there is never another draft, at least you can learn about some amazing people and new ways of solving world problems.

Do You Think You May not Want to Go to War?
You May be a CO (Conscientious Objector)

In order to be a conscientious objector, you must be able to prove to a draft board that you have long-standing beliefs that you could not go to war. In order to prove that, it is helpful to have letters from teachers, ministers, papers written in school that reflect nonviolent or pacifist beliefs. The draft board does not seem to give much weight to recent documentation. They want to know this is something deeply held and believed, and not just self-preservation that motivates someone to request CO status. That is why we are beginning work before there is a draft.

What is happening in Port Townsend
(and could work in your hometown)

My concern has led me to begin a discussion group for peace, with 14-18 year olds gathering to read essays and books, and watch videos ofMartin Luther King, Gandhi, conscientious objectors from current and previous wars, and other materials that discuss non-violence. I strongly feel that ideas and values must be from kids, and not from me. I am willing to provide materials and a place to discuss them.By encouraging kids to form their own thoughts, they can be articulated to a draft board if called on to prove what they believe. I would also hope that the families involved could support each other and speak for one another's children if they are called before a draft board.

With support from the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers),the Central Committee of Conscientious Objectors, and NNOMY (National Network Opposed to Militarism of Youth),  I continue to learn the legalities and find materials and support for this project. I  began one session with 7 home schooled kids, reached out to invite teens in local church youth programs, and local high school students.  I have some young people work with me for over a year.  College students tend to meet once or twice with me and then study on their own.   The military recruiters have been at the Port Townsend High School as many as three times a week during the school year. Recruiters from all branches of the military were hanging out at lunch time to talk to kids in the cafeteria, but the school moved them to another room, thanks to the efforts of students at the school.   I travel across the state, making presentations to local peace groups, high schools and colleges, and church groups. The Teen Peace kids have kept awareness of the No Child Left Behind Act and student's right to "opt out" on the minds of students, their parents, and school administrators. 

Teen Peace participants help to facilitate sessions for other teens and younger kids.  The also accompany me on some of the community presentations I am invited to.  They are actively working for peace and non-violence. Art exhibits, letters and articles in local papers, and making videos to express your beliefs, are all ways that you can document you are a conscientious objector.

Protecting Student Privacy Rights

Working with a group of concerned parents and community members, we have pressured the school district to follow the regulations outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act. This law went into effect on July 1, 2002, and requires schools to release the name, address and phone numbers of students to military recruiters. BUT the law also requires schools to notify families that student information will be released,and schools must allow parents to "opt out" of the recruiting lists.Parents may opt out by writing to the school to tell them they do not want their child's information released. School districts around the country are saying they have to give the student's names to recruiters, or they may lose federal funding. But school districts are only telling half of the story. The same law that requires them to give out student's information ALSO requires them to notify parents and give parents the right to opt out. While I am not a lawyer, it makes me wonder if not following the notification requirements also would jeopardize school funding. It is all in the same law, passed by Congress, signed by President Bush, and clarified on Oct. 9, 2002 in a joint letter from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of Education Rod Paige. The right to opt out is not our preference, it is the law. If your school district has not notified you of this information release, and you would like to know what we have done to protect student privacy, please feel free to e-mail me for more information.

Two years after getting the Port Townsend High School to comply, I found out they were being lax about the opt-out provision.  Teen Peace staged an action on the school campus to remind students they have the right to protect their privacy. 

My generation, and those a bit older than me, lost friends and family during the Vietnam War. We were all changed by that experience, and I want to do something to make a difference to the children who share this time in the world with my children.

I Encourage You to Start Your Own Group

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in setting up a similar discussion group. I would be happy to share ideas for materials and resources. Below is a link to my web page with goals and objectives, (a sort of outline) for setting up your own group, a suggested book and video list, and links to organizations that can help you if you feel that you cannot go to war. If you have any recommendations for materials, or ideas for speakers or other resources, I would love to hear from you.

News Stories about Teen Peace


I would really like to thank Judith Ehrlich, the maker of "The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It" for her incredible documentary that touched my heart and inspired me to take action. The men in this film made our world a better place. Thanks to the Port Townsend Film Festival for bringing this film to our town. Thanks to the PT Peace Movement for support and enthusiasm. And especially, thanks to my husband, Dan, and my children for inspiration and their love. They have mine always. May they live in peace.

Teenpeace - Peace and Conscientious Objector Study Group Page

Here is an outline of what I am doing here in Port Townsend.

Email me at: liz(at)teenpeace(dot)org