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.