Tag Archives: high schools

Peace Activists Challenge Army Recruiters

For years, Sally Ferrell has been asking permission of the Wilkes County School Board to have access to high school students in order to offer a divergent view of military life than the one presented by Army recruiters. School Superintendent Stephen Laws has argued she was denied permission because her criticism of the armed forces violated school policy. The American Civil Liberties Union has argued for years that peace activists should have equal opportunity to talk with high school students concerning the advantages or disadvantages of military service. The school board has finally agreed to allow her to enter the high school.

Peace activists argue the Army tends to target high schools in urban poor areas or rural schools because so many graduates are not going on to college nor will they find high paying jobs. Of course, Superintendent Laws is not happy about the agreement between the school board and the ACLU. “We allow recruiters into the schools to recruit for post-high school opportunities. But, she wasn’t offering that.” Perhaps, she was offering something better than a job– life itself.

ACLU Wants Equal School Access

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a North Carolina school district which refuses to allow their representatives to speak with students about alternatives to serving in the armed forces. In a sense, they want the right to offer counter-recruiting arguments that would persuade students not to accept ideas given them by recruiters for the armed forces. Sally Ferrell of the North Carolina Peace Action says Wilkes country schools will not allow groups other than those of the armed forces to offer arguments concerning alternatives open to students about their future lives. School Superintendent Stephen Laws argues he does not allow any group to criticize other organizations so it would be a precedent allowing groups like Ameri Corps to present information to students.

I recall a few years ago chatting with two recruiters who were in the vicinity of Brooklyn College. I asked them if they tried persuading Brooklyn College students to join the armed forces. Both broke out in laughter, turned and pointed to Midwood High School. They admitted they pinpointed high schools in poverty areas and stayed away from talking with college students.

The argument of School Superintendent Laws is specious. Recruiters are pitching a well financed proposal- training, money, and free college. Their audience are high school kids whose parents never went to college. It is only proper to allow other voices to be presented to impressionable youth. Let the best argument win.