4. Speak out
9. Set up peer mediation in school (or ask your school to arrange the training – contact Peer Mediation Network)
10. Get creative!
The #UnseenMarch is online, so you can easily share it with those you know. You can also use the hashtag #UnseenMarch to highlight examples of militarisation you witness, whether in your local school, your community or the media.
The Unseen March is a great tool to start a conversation about militarisation in your community. By organising a screening with an accompanying talk or workshop, you can engage more people.
Contact us to plan an event featuring The Unseen March where you are. We can provide a DVD, workshop resources and advice.
Make the event even more interesting by arranging a speaker from one of our partners such as ForcesWatch or Veterans for Peace UK, or book Journeymen Theatre’s Over The Top (see Hear about the alternative perspective).
Ask schools about The Unseen March
It is not always clear which schools are pursuing military activities, but you have the right to find out.
Use this two-page questionnaire to approach local schools and find out what military programmes or activities they’re involved in as well as how they are supporting peace education. This both highlights your concern and helps us to build a clearer picture of what is happening.
More useful information can be found on the ForcesWatch website (new window).
Speak out about The Unseen March
If you are concerned by the militarisation of education, you can speak out. By writing to your elected representatives or highlighting this issue in the media, you can encourage more public debate.
Contact the press
Get a letter published in your local paper. Look out for a local angle such as a military parade in your community, military visits to your children’s school or your own screening of The Unseen March.
Contact us if you would like help raising local media interest.
Write to your elected representatives
By contacting your Member of Parliament (MP) or other representatives, you can make them aware of the facts about militarisation and urge them to question it publicly. To encourage local public discussion through the press, you could highlight your concerns in an open letter and send it to the local newspaper.
You can find and contact your elected representatives at writetothem.com. Since militarisation has been pursued nationally, we suggest writing to your MP. But you may also want to write to your local councillors about what’s happening near you.
For Quakers seeking advice on contacting their elected representatives, contact:
Hear about the alternative perspective on The Unseen March
Government guidance requires schools to provide ‘balanced views’ of controversial issues, but sometimes only a one-sided view of the military is presented. To ensure young people experience a balance of different perspectives, invite a speaker from one of the organisations below. They can run workshops for adults or young people, in or out of school.
Let any young people who are thinking of joining the armed forces know aboutwww.beforeyousignup.info. This is an independent website that outlines the main rules for joining and leaving the British armed forces and is the only place you can read the enlistment papers in advance.
Host a workshop by ForcesWatch exploring militarisation in education: www.forceswatch.net/contact.
Book a performance of Over The Top from Journeymen Theatre (offsite link). This forum theatre piece was commissioned by West Midlands Quaker Peace Committee in response to the increasing influence of military values in everyday life, especially in our schools.
Promote peace education near you
An easy way to promote peace education is to share peace education resources with schools near you.
You can find materials from Quaker Peace & Social Witness online.
Many organisations in the Peace Education Network (offsite link) offer free resources and workshops. If you work with young people, you might want to try them out yourself!
Explore the stories of those who have resisted war, such as those in Conscience and Conviction [PDF]or the Peace Pledge Union’s Refusing to Kill (offsite link).
In the run-up to Remembrance Day, make white poppies as well as red poppies available. You can get these from the Peace Pledge Union at www.ppu.org.uk/ppushop. Learn about the origin and meaning of white poppies at www.ppu.org.uk/learn/early/poppy3_early_years.html.
Stop the recruitment of 16-year-olds into the British armed forces
Our friends at Pax Christi UK are building a petition calling on the government to end underage recruitment in Britain. Please sign and share it (Pax Christi petition -offsite link)
Nominate your school for a Peaceful Project Award
The leaflet can be found on the Spiritual England website (Off site link – PDF – opens in a new window).
Many teachers, schools and young people do amazing work for peace, and it’s wonderful to celebrate and support these achievements.
You can nominate a school for a Peaceful Project Award or a pupil or member of school staff for the Peacemaker Award!
Peaceful projects could be things like:
- the creation of a peace garden or indoor quiet area
- a training programme for staff and pupils on building positive relationships and peaceful conflict resolution
- setting up a Peer Mediation or Playground Friends scheme.
A Peacemaker is a child, young person or member of school staff who has ‘gone the extra mile’ towards the promotion of peace between others/people of any age.
Please email email@example.com for a nomination form.
The Peaceful Schools Awards scheme celebrates the important role that schools can play in equipping children and young people with the skills they need to live peaceful lives and to be peacemakers.
The awards have been developed by Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Peacemakers in Birmingham, David Holmes – Schools Consultant and Spiritual England.
Set up conflict resolution in school
Conflict will always be a part of life in schools, but that doesn’t need to be a problem. When young people have the skills and responsibility, they can resolve conflict and find creative solutions.
There is a wealth of approaches available for conflict resolution and restorative justice in schools. If you have links to a school, you can encourage the establishment of these practices and invest in the life skills for peace.
We recommend the Peer Mediation Network (offsite link), a group of organisations that offers training to schools. Peer mediation is conflict resolution by young people trained in the process.
The Unseen March was created to start a conversation, and you can take part in any creative way you like. Using the themes outlined in the film, share anything you’d like to create using the hashtag #UnseenMarch. This could be any aspect of militarisation you see around you and your response to it.
For example, watch this creative short film looking at the militarisation of boys. Could you create your own video? You could video an interview with a teacher or friends about their views on The Unseen March.