Tag Archives: Military recruiters

Army Recruiters And Youth

The debate concerning to what extent military recruiters should have access to high school youth continues as Congress considers changes in the No Child Left Behind law which compels high schools to give the military access to names and addresses. Rep. Mike Honda wants the law changed to require parental permission before a child’s name and phone number is released to military recruiters. “Parents have an obligation and right to control their children’s private information,” noted the congressman. On the other hand, some argue if schools receive money from the federal government they should provide access to military recruiters. This is apple and orange type thinking. If schools receive money from the Department of Education they have an obligation to provide that federal department with information, but why does it require allowing other areas of the government access?

A few years ago I talked with military recruiters who were near Brooklyn College. They were frank when saying they only went to high schools in disadvantaged areas and did not go near a high ranking high school. Honda’s suggestion is fair and restores to parents control over information about their children without denying military access to schools.

Should Military Recruiters Be Allowed In High Schools?

The Coalition Against Militarism In Our Schools is challenging the right of military recruiters to enter high schools in Los Angeles and try to persuade students to enter military service. Anyone who visits high schools these days is aware that military recruiters avoid secondary schools with excellent academic reputations and focus mainly on high schools located in poverty areas where students are not going to college. It would be unusual for military recruiters to “waste time” attempting their sales pitch to highly successful academic achieving students. That is a reality of modern education.

Arele Inouye, of the Coalition, argues that recruiters “have a quota and it’s their job to get students to sign up. So, just like a car salesman, they’re going t say anything they can to get students to sign up.” The point is a valid one, but the Coalition’s goal of allowing them to enter high school to offer counter arguments also raises questions about the principle of academic freedom. If high schools must allow anyone to enter their classrooms offering alternative interpretations, the result could be chaotic. Those who believe in Creationism could also argue they have a right to present alternative ideas.

The best solution is not allowing anyone onto school grounds to offer a sales pitch. Military recruiters should find alternative ways of contacting students, but doing so in schools is dangerous to the purpose of an academic institution which seeks to provide education.