The battle for the soul and bodies of American adolescent high school students is being waged by recruiters for the armed forces and those who believe schools are not the place in which members of the armed forces should be selling their wares of war. Sally Ferrell, a Quaker, has been continually refused an opportunity by school officials in rural Wilkes County to distribute to students pamphlets that warn them to think carefully before accepting the ideas of military recruiters. In recent years, thousands of people like Ms. Ferrell have waged a war for the minds of young Americans who are bombarded by recruiters with visions of money and good jobs in the armed forces. She believes the Armed force “pitch”contains misleading information that is not readily grasped by a 17 year old high school student.
Ms. Ferrell decided to begin her battle when told by high school teachers of efforts by recruiters who even approached students while they were eating lunch and used the lack of job opportunities in the rural area in order to persuade the students about a brighter future in the armed forces. Superintendent of Schools Stephen Laws refused her permission to offer students materials which depict entering the army because he considers joining the service to be a good opportunity for young people in his school district.
She has been somewhat successful by preventing recruiters unlimited access to high schools and forbidding them to pester students while at lunch. I proudly served in the armed forces but made that decision after leaving high school. I recently spent time working in Brooklyn high schools and was repeatedly told by recruiters they avoided going to high schools which had a high percent of students heading on to college. There is something wrong when an adolescent in a failing school is the target of recruiters while successful academic institutions are free of their presence.