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Critics Target Military Recruiters

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Military recruiters appear to be attracting more scrutiny from parents and others, prompting some districts to re-examine their policies of open access. Supporters of the military's efforts to reach students at school face vocal critics who argue that young people are being given too rosy a picture of military life during a time of war.


What do you think about schools being required to give military recruiters access to students? How should schools involve parents and students in the re-examination of their open access policies?

28 Comments

Service to ones nation should be a requirement for citizenship, be it the military or community service type of program. If a student is led to believe that at this point in our current affairs that he or she can join the military and NOT end up in Iraq then it must be the student who slept through their history class!
How many college recruiters come to a campus and "warn" the prespective student of drugs, binge drinking and fraternity hazing on their campus? Do college recruiters paint a rosy picture of their college?
Think!

Yes, service to one's nation is an honorable pursuit, obviously is not for everyone. It is for the strong, committed and unselfish individual who believes in preserving our precious hard won freedom. Parents should let their kids make their own decisions and have a mature discussion with them about the possible dangers. We do not need weakness, cowardice and doubters in the military. Our nation needs strength, committment, and a purpose beyond oneself. The military needs support now. To those who question the military's access to it's young men and women, shame on you! Who do you expect to fight for your freedom? Our nation needs young men and women to take a stand not shrink back from responsibility. Pity we have such backward thinking. the military can provide wonderful training and purpose. Think again!

The beginning of student nonviolent opposition to the Vietnam War was "pacifist." The students who are the most vulnerable to recruiting in high schools are the minority races (although its difficult to know who the minorities are anymore). I had a female student who was in a high school credit recovery program (she had failed numerous subjects and was 18 years old)say she wanted to join the army because she could go to college for free. I told her she could go to college probably after she served in the Middle East. She changed her mind.

I am sick of anytime anyone says anything bad about protecting our own privacy, wich these days is important because of identy thefts, that we get accused of being unpatatrotic. Also I am getting sick of people saying it is our dubty to fight because the army is protecting our freedoms. But they are not proecting our freedoms infact we have never been at a more vunorbale state of attack cause with have our forces spread out so thin. Also what is fighting Iraq have anything to do with protecting my freedoms? I rember it was Bin Laden who attack us and instead of trying to get him we are wasting our time in Iraq that possed no threat to us (no WMDs found). So I consider it my Patroitc duty to fight the real enemy. Also to all those who call me unpatrotic or communist my dad was in the pentagan, we had family friend die in it and now my dad is going to Iraq.

Here in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, area there have been two cases in just the last few weeks where recruiters have lied to 17-year-old students to get them to enlist in a delayed training program -- and then threatened the students (who are now 18) when they found out they had been lied to and tried to withdraw. Shouldn't young people be able to trust what they are told by these representatives of the armed forces? Or, more important, shouldn't they at least be able to hear both sides of the story?!

Why do schools permit recruiters to ply their trade in school lunchrooms and corridors but fail to provide any counterbalancing information?

The facts, revealed in government reports, are that most recruits get little or no money for college and find that the skills they learned in the military don't always transfer well to civilian work. Many military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans were exposed to highly-toxic 'depleted' uranium from armor-piercing munitions (the use of which is in itself a war crime). And women take an even greater risk in the military: according to the Veterans Administration, up to 90% of women in the military report sexual harassment, including demands for 'sexual favors' in order to be promoted -- and up to one third of women veterans surveyed report that they had been raped while in the service.

Students have the right to the truth when they are asked to make these life-and-death decisions! For schools to allow recruiters in to make their self-serving and deceptive pitches while shutting off the other side of the story is not only immoral, it is flies against the core values of education.

Bottom line is this...high school students are entitled to information on ALL options after high school. College is not for everyone, nor is military service - although I agree that service to one's nation should be a requirement for citizenship. As for the lies, do you believe everything the media tells us? As parents and teachers, do we not strive to equip our young people with criticial thinking skills and the tools to make an informed decision? My husband has served our country for 18 years now. He has been deployed several times in conflict situations. He has also earned his Bachelor's degree through the USAF - almost 100% paid by our government - even though he did not sign up for the GI bill when he enlisted. Is avoiding duty in Iraq possible if you enlist....yes, depending on what career field you are in. Let's not underestimate our youth's.....they sometimes have a more patriotic spirit than their parents - Parents who often times can not see beyond the potential danger to their child...even though it is out there every day - behind the wheel of a car, in promiscuious actions, drugs or sitting at work for a Fortune 500 company located in the Twin Towers of NYC. Military service is NOT a life or death decision - it's a heart and soul decision.

I was horrified to see recruiters at our school. The young women and men were in awe of them. Many of our students our poor and unlikely to go to college, and this is just what these vultures are banking on. To fight for one's country is one thing, but to be fooled into giving one's life for an unjust war shows how we have marginalized a large segment of our population.

Marcea,You obviously have no clue about the importance of service to our country and the role those dedicated people have played in allowing you to make such uninformed statements.

You also need to realize that your inability to spell and communicate properly as a "student-teacher" is one of the major reasons the teaching profession gets so little respect.

People have sacrificed lives over time to allow you to make such uninformed and foolish statements, and I also support your right to make them. Next time, please proofread what you have written so that others in the teaching profession will not be ashamed this is the product we are producing.

Students in high school ought to have access to alternative views about the military and militarism. If we truly believe in democracy, then make available to students counter-military recruiting materials. I believe that we all want our young people to be able to make informed, rational, intelligent decisions about whether to join the military or not. Let's provide them with various perspectives and allow them to choose after careful scrutiny of all points of view.

Two questions were asked. I will respond to each, in turn.
"What do you think about schools being required to give Military recruiters access to students?"
This is a part of the NCLB law, and it includes an opt-out provision. But, if enough school boards and state education officials complain, it will be changed. Remember the original mandate in NCLB about every child being entitled to have each subject taught by a specialist in THAT field? School Boards and state officials complained loud and long about the limited candidate pool, and the mandate was watered down.

"How should schools involve parents and students in the re-examination of their open access policies?" Simple. It is called: The School Board Meeting. Parents and students attend. During the "Public Comment" segment, concerned parents and students express their desire for "the re-examination of...open access..." Any school board desiring re-election will, if asked, set up a committee with parent and student representation to prepare recommendations, regarding open access policies.

I think the military, as well as any other job recruiters, should be allowed to talk with high school students. This is a voluntary decision and students are not required to speak with the reruiters.
I disagree with the statement that mostly minority, poor students enlist. Many of my outstanding students chose service to their country instead of entering college right out of high school. Most of them got an education in the service and many continued in college after leaving. I have seen teens labeled as "reckless and no good" come out of the service with a totally different demeanor. They now are productive citizens with families and I am quite proud of them.
My step-son enlisted in the Navy and entered right after high school. He was afforded the opportunity to advance his education while in the Navy, where he studied nuclear power operations, and has been employed in a nuclear power plant since leaving the Navy. He has advanced there and has a very good position. He credits the Navy for much of his success.

I read the previous comments with great interest as I believe also that service to your country should be a requirement of citizenship and each of my three sons have served in the military. And, no, we are neither poor nor a minority (unless you want to consider those who give service to our country a minority). All but one has used his benefits to attend college and one has graduated with the benefit of tuition assistance. I am so proud that these guys believe they owe a debt of service to their country and step up to the responsibility for all our collective benefits. And, I am so scared for my son serving in Iraq at this moment. And so very, very proud.
I believe in freedom and I do not deny anyone their opinion but please consider the damage to our country's pride, reputation, and position when you malign the military recruiter (you could only know they lied if you had been present AND the parent should have been present during the signing), the president, and our country. You give credibility to the terrorist's actions and you endanger every one of our men and women who are serving in the United States Military when you do. As for recruiters in the schools, yes, our educational system is to be an institution that you will learn what is necessary for life in this great country. Our eighteen year-old population is smarter than we give them credit for. Let them learn.

No person, group, agency, or officer that is NOT directly associated with a public school should be given entre onto its campus, its records, or access to any information about a community of learners---and that should unconditionally include military recruiters or sponsors of military matters.

I was shocked when my son came home from high school and reported that he had attended what he understood to be a MANDATORY armed forces recruitment session. After the fact, I learned that although it wasn't actually mandatory, it was worse - the teachers hand-pick the students they'd like to "encourage" to attend. Although my son had other goals in place, some teacher made the decision for him (and me, as the guardian of a 17-yr old) that the military was an option he should consider. While I give my son and his peers credit for being able to make their own decisions, I also recognize their unique age-related vulnerability to mistruths or to the omission of information that occurs, whether it's from recruiters for the armed forces or college or employment. However I do not equate the omission of the possibility of death or dismemberment from acts of war to be the same as the possibility of too much college partying resulting in poor grades or loss of athletic eligibilty.

This happened about 4 years ago, and the boys who did sign up certainly had no idea they'd actually see a war. At 17 and 18, they had no concept of war beyond their school room texts or watching movies or the fun of all those violent electronic games. And those who are still alive today are suffering from something else they were never warned of before signing the dotted line - the same emotional defragmentation I saw 30 years ago as a crisis counselor for Viet Nam veterans who were sent to fight a war they didn't understand.

As a veteran and teacher I find myself torn. I believe in the benefits of the military, however I am appalled by their recruitment techniques. If a student is interested in information they should be able to seek that out. So, I feel it is fine for recruiters to be on campus.

My problem becomes these so called "mandatory" and invasive techniques of recruitment. Case in point, a fellow student was called on the carpet last year for advising her students they were not required to sign the ASVAB test that we use for career counseling. The administration and military really pushes for this signature. Without it they are unable to use it for military purposes, but we can still use the results for career counseling.

My other problem is the database they are building. See "Pentagon Creating Student Database
Recruiting Tool For Military Raises Privacy Concerns" at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/22/AR2005062202305_pf.html

In response to the concerned parent who had a son attend what he thought was a mandatory meeting with the recruiters, you have every right to be angry. Your anger should be directed at the teachers and Administrators that let this happen. This was not the fault of the recruiters.

I see this as another isolated example of a lack of common sense on the part of the school personnel creating a perception that should not exist. I see using this as an example of why recruiters should not be allowed in schools as akin to doing away with all welfare, social security, medicaide, etc... because some people abuse the system. Neither made any real sense to me.

If anyone here thinks that the military is not a viable option for ANY graduating senior, despite their background, they are sadly misinformed about the benefits that one can gain through serving our country.

Should recruiting sessions be MANDATORY? Of course not! Should they be an OPTION? YES! I joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating high school (during the Gulf war) and it was the best decision I could have made. As for the person who said that "recruits get little or no money for college," he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about! EVERY RECRUIT is offered the opportunity to participate in the GI Bill. As a matter of fact, I was ENCOURAGED by my recruiter as well as my drill instructors to participate in the GI Bill to take advantage of the money for college. Tuition assistance is also offered during active duty (and you still get your GI Bill when you leave the service). By the way, I'm finishing my master's degree and will graduate in August.

In addition, as for the skills not transferring to the civilian workforce, not only do they transfer sir, they actually make it BETTER! Because of my work ethic, sense of responsibility, sense of integrity, ownership of the work, and love of country (all of which are skills that were supported and developed during my service), not only am I a better worker, but my organization is better off for it as well.

Let's face the facts, are there military recruiters out there who will mislead students? Yes. Are there college recruiters out there who will mislead students? Yes. Are there teachers out there who will mislead students? Yes. Unfortunately, the world is full of people with bad intentions no matter the profession. However, hopefully our schools and us adults will do the job we are supposed to do in helping these students develop the critical skills necessary in making informed decisions about their futures...whether they are military OR college bound.

Actually I did not state an opinion on either side of whether military recruiters should have access to students, I simply shared an experience related to the topic. Now I will share another one.

A respectful teen will usually do what their teacher tells them, including attending a meeting however uninterested (and of course I realize this is a school issue rather than the recruiter's), so will they obediently fill out the recruiter's contact card when instructed to do so.

To this day he/we have been hounded by calls and mailings from all branches of the military, particularly the Army and the Marines. My son has now long since left home so I am the one who answers the phone and can thus unequivocally state that every recruiter I have spoken to has been coersive, evasive, misleading and even dishonest, when asked what I consider to be relevant questions in order to ascertain whether the military might actually be a good choice for my child. I have been lied to, evaded and hung up on. I'd be surprised if recruiters are behaving that way with parents, they aren't worse with naive teens.

To Concerned Parent - Each military service has a upper level recruiting organization. For the Army, it's the US Army Recruiting Command located at Fort Knox, KY. I strongly recommend that you get the name of any recruiter who calls and is so blatantly unprofessional and then contact the Recruiting Command.

I am appalled that military recruiters have access to high school students without parental knowledge. If a student is considering the military parents have a right to know this information. A child cannot consume liquor before the age of 21 years, yet can join the military at 18 years old. Public schools should be required by law to notify parents if a recruiter is going to be on a school campus approaching our children to consider giving their life up to serve. Only after a parent is included in this recruitment and much discussion with their child follows, should a decision be made concerning such a life and death career choice.

In response to the individual who is appalled by the fact that military recruiters have access to high school students without parental knowledge, where have the parents been? A little-noticed provision -- little-noticed because we were not yet at war in Iraq -- in the 2002 NCLB law required schools to provide students' names and addresses.

Now that we are at war and that, plus a relatively strong economy, is causing the Army and Marines to have problems attracting sufficient recruits.

While it's true that with smaller, all-volunteer armed forces, the military is remote from most Americans' daily life, one could hope that parents are aware of this dilemma for our armed services.

Recruiters are taking advantage of their right to student lists. Coming on campus with the permission of the school's administration is the next logical step. Recruiters offer a legitimate career path to high school students. Parents who object to the release of name and address may take advantage of the law's allowance for an "opt out." Objections to campus presence can be made to the school board.

The Pentagon will get its recruits one way or another. Via a direct-marketing firm, a data base is being formed that includes much more than name and address. America needs the military and the military needs recruits.

Volunteer service has a long and honorable tradition in this nation. Schools should treat military service as one option among many for their students. Any choice by a student to even consider joining the military should be extensively thought out and discussed with the student's parent(s) and guidance/career counselor.

As with any other career choice, good information is necessary. For a move into any career with inherently dangerous possibilities (the military, firemen, law enforcement, etc.), good information for decision making is mandatory.

As an American living outside the country and an ex Naval Officer, I'm disappointed at those who would take from their country witout feeling any obligation to give something for the great gifts living in the USA implies. I think that everyone should have a period of obligatory service to their country, whether it be in the military, Peace Corp, some type of community service.

It is interesting that those who have received the most from this country are least probable to give back. I'm referring the the attendants of our most prestigious universities. Why should they be exempt? As a former professor in one of these institutions, I'm unimpressed by the reasoning the the 'anti-war" faction among them. It often reduces to selfishness and cowardness.

Of course military recruiters should be encouraged to visit public schools. The public is paying for these schools and the military serves that public.

I've seen many a young man find himself in the military. He gets immediate responsibility and has to grow up fast. Look at the skilly required to operate an aircraft carrier. the flight deck is as intricate as a ballet and requires that everyone work as a team without errors. They develop skills and great pride. The cost of an error can mean death to themselves and their buddies. The average age of the men that operate an aircraft carrier is about 23 years of age. Where in the civilian world does a young man get this responsibility. No wonder they wake up and realize they can do something important with their lives.

The purpose/function of schools and educational providers is to provide learning experiences within the governing state adopted curriculum guides. The outside "bidders" wanting access to a captive audience regardless of reason-community fund raisers, military recruiters,sports companies, cable TV networks,etc- are taking away from the instructional time and creating distractions in the regular schedule.

Military recruiters have access to TV advertisements, malls of America, computer pops if they wanted too, and many ways to contact students. For the US Government to purpose a statement that you either hand over the school contact information or violate NCLB and Federal funding rules, only says the BUSH administration is "in the last gasp of resistence" before starting the draft after the 2006 elections.

Would "private elitist" schools have recruiters for the "bush" administration? Probably not, since they would be "prepping" for the good life in the suburbs, and learning to drive gas guzzling SUVs to the country clubs.

While the philosophy that everyone should perform public service, whether in the military or otherwise, is reasonable, neither at this point is mandated by government nor by society, so isn't it a moot point? Or are some suggesting that students with a record of community service should or could be exempt from the draft that seems imminent?

Interestingly, the young men of my acquaintance who volunteered for the military, were already strong community volunteers prior to that.

I agree with the comment that college is a choice not all students make. Joining the military is just another option. In wartime, especially, I think it's appropriate to give students this option and, if they're interested, they, along with their parents' support and input, can make a decision. And, I agree that presentation of other "non-military" alternatives, such as training in mechanical or other trades, is important. I disagree that the military is not a route to obtaining a degree, if one has the desire to do so. I know many that have proudly accomplished their educational objectives after serving in the military.

Wow! So many negative opinions about the military. For those doubters, where do you think your freedom come from? They were bought with real blood from real men who gave their lives. How about you give this generation a chance to carry on this legacy? Our freedoms cost something. Maybe that's the issue -- people think that they can have freedom without purchasing them. Would you prefer to speak German? The Greatest Generation spilled their blood to keep that from happening. Think about it, doubters and whiners.

Recruiters should be allowed and encouraged, but no more or less than colleges or local businesses.

And just for the record, no U.S. army has fought to win or protect my rights, ever. Civilians fought for my right to vote, my right to due process, and my right to equal education. For those who truly believe that U.S. troops are fighting wars for U.S. citizens, pick up a history book. I come from a military family and we all realize that we fight for U.S. interests, not U.S. freedoms.

Parents should be aware that a recruiter’s primary job is to provide the information to the recruits and give them rides. Every individual that enlist into the Army has to go over their contract with MEPS verifying what they are told. People say recruiters lie about the benefits, has anybody heard of the internet? I was a successful recruiter and I always made sure every recruiter had my number in case they had questions. I also always advise young recruits, during the interview, that it would be wise for me to talk to their parents. I love my country and honestly believe that anybody that serves has the same feeling. I grew up in Mexico and know how great the U.S is. I just ask everybody to know the facts. WE ARE AT WAR!! How can we lie about that? Unless you live in a cave, you know that if you join the military you are going to war. (Iraq, Afghanistan) Why do you think there is a military? Everybody that joins knows they will go and they still join. Do you think $40,000 is worth your life? How about $70,000 for college? NO it is the belief that they are making a difference. The average recruit is middle to upper class, so you know they DO NOT JOIN FOR THE MONEY. Dear parents, do you honestly believe that your kids tell you everything. (Maybe they want to join but are afraid to tell you?) If a teacher picks a kid to talk to recruiter wouldn't it be wise to ask why? Maybe little Johnny is messing up in school or has little interest perusing a college degree. They are just taking care of Johnny for you. Today's youth are intelligent, and know what they are getting into. Most of you probably don't know this but most Army recruiters are top ten of their fields. Trust me they do not want to call your house, just to get yell out. (Most recruiters hate recruiting) These recruiters are entrusted by the Army to go out in the community and represent the uniform. Most recruiters prefer being out in the desert with their soldiers. (Before you ask, YES I have been to war.)I spent sixteen months in Iraq and every recruit knew that. I never hid that fact and they also knew I hate recruiting but loved my country. I ask anybody to go to a recruiting office (preferably Marines or Army) and see how long they are there. Most recruiters work 74.5 to 98 hours a week. There were many times I didn't see my family for weeks. My family knows the sacrifice and understands the overall picture. We have many supporters out in the community and thank them. If you have any questions write me I will gladly answer the question and show you were to find it in writing. PLEASE DO NOT RANT ON SOMETHING YOU HAVE LITTLE TO NO IDEA ON THE SUBJECT. THANK YOU. One last thing, for the individual that said that Soldiers fights for U.S. interest not freedoms probably forgot about the Zimmerman letter to Mexico or even Hans Blix. Hans Blix wrote about how Iraq had WMD.(17 UN Resolutions ignored) It was in a report from a testimony from Iraq's Minister of Defense. "GOOGLE" IRAQ's Chicken Farm. (You will be surprise) Also, there were a lot of mass grave sites in Iraq that you probably forgot.(Pearl Harbor anybody?) If anybody feels we should have never entered Iraq, should go over there and tell the shoeless kid pulling rods out of destroyed buildings. We left isolation during the depression for a reason. PICK UP A BOOK!

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