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The Red, White And Blue Blues: Parents Take A Stand Against Military Recruiting

Submitted by MiaB

When most of us thing about what “career day” meant to us “back in the day”, most of us reminisce of a time when universities, colleges and trade schools set up shop somewhere in our high school and tried to woo us in their direction. And, in some instances we were exposed to military recruiters too. In fact, many of my classmates were inductees into the military life during the Gulf War era. And, today, young men and women are often faced with the same recruiters and life altering (adult) decisions, but perhaps in more tempestuous times.

In fact, some Long Island parents are protesting recruiter access to their almost adult offspring, at least in the absence of their presence. And, schools have begun to enforce some restrictions.

The movement suggests that young adults between the ages of 15 and 16 should not be approached by these recruiters nor spoken to about life decisions (especially regarding the military) without the presence, advice, input, and authorization of their parents.

Recruiters however note that unlimited access to ALL students was never allowed and hence not an issue. But, they do affirm that with more parental and school concern, greater restrictions have been enforced limiting their access to students to two evenings on campus annually, and only during college and career nights.

Experts further affirm that Marine school visits are far from random. In fact, some stations feature a giant map dotted with various locations of local high schools and colleges along with the number of male seniors. And, recruiters seek out enlistees at football games and wrestling matches as well as at pizza parlors, arcades and other trendy hot spots and hang outs. They even go as far as frequenting beach concerts and implementing fun competitions offering free military paraphernalia as prizes.

The Army on the other hand conducts its recruiting via a handbook featuring a month-to-month guideline and recruiters are encouraged to pay visits to school cafeterias and actually eat there, attend school functions, and bring coffee and donuts to staff serving as “assistants” to coaches and summer school instructors. Their mission is to not only make contact but also be seen as a positive force and an admirable and “enviable” career choice and often well before junior or senior year.

Furthermore, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 mandates that high schools give the military contact information for those graduating and at risk for losing federal funding. While a national opt-out form is available, school participation is not mandatory so availability (of the form) varies among schools. However, just last week, the Department of Defense concurred to rectify some of its recruiting methods, including the gathering of student Social Security numbers.

It’s also important to note that recruiters have different recruiting rules depending on the high school and the districts, with some schools voluntarily offering more access than others.

Currently, Bellport and South Side In Rockville Enter limit access to college fairs, career nights and scheduled one-on-one appointments, while at Hauppauge high recruiters are given carte blanche to set up shop in the cafeteria once a month to chat with lunching students. And, Brentwood high, who has suffered the loss of four former students in Afghanistan, restricts recruiters from eating lunch in the cafeteria, petitioning student out of class or chatting to them in the hallways.

And now, counter-recruiters are asking for equal time so that they can present their position offering even students from lower-income communities other viable and palpable options.

In fact, many veterans have joined and/or formed groups hat speak to young adults about what their choices REALLY translate into and about their experiences in war, warning them about many of the “false” or “over-exaggerated” promises made by recruiters.

However, the New York State Council of School Superintendents confirms that many schools are hesitant to allow anti-military and anti-war personnel on premise out of “fear” and political concerns. And, officials add that most recruiters are not only mindful of parents concerns and the added restrictions but quite cooperative and respectful of them as well.

Life News > The Red, White And Blue Blues: Parents Take A Stand Against Military Recruiting

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