Dear Real Change,
Thanks to Real Change for taking a look at the military recruiting situation in Seattle (“Be All that You can Be: Military recruitment at schools still a concern,” March 14). But I would like to stress that the military recruiters across the country have fairly unfettered access to students.
Military recruiters are working with a $4 billion dollar a year budget. There are thousands and thousands of recruiting stations, with the capacity to bring pens, keychains, climbing walls, and Black Hawk helicopters to high schools (and middle schools) and sports events. In most districts in this state, military recruiters are in and out of the schools weekly, even daily. Many schools have a JROTC. The military aptitude test, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, is given to many high school students without telling them that their names will be given to recruiters. No Child Left Behind mandates that high schools must get student contact information so recruiters can call students at home, and that recruiters be given access to high school students at school; though parents and students can opt out of having to give their contact information to the military, most districts do not make sure parents and students know this. And, as parent Stephanie Ragland says in your article, the bottom line is that the military has constant access to students. Even driver’s license applications are used for the military to get student contact information.
But beyond money and access is the advantage that people presume military recruiters are righteous, that the military defines nobility, that war is about helping people, and that counseling peace is an alternative, odd, non-mainstream idea. This is why counter-recruiters must struggle to get into schools, while military recruiters are invited in. Until war is no longer the answer to everything, until greed isn’t a national public policy, the public will be happy to sacrifice the lives of a few young people in order to keep business as usual. What a shame that our public schools are complicit in this poverty draft.
Kathy Barker | Seattle
Correction to the aforementioned story: Kathy Ragland’s son Nick was cheering on, not playing for, the Franklin High School basketball team during the state championships when he encountered military recruiters’ paraphernalia, including a climbing wall.
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For copy of actual issue, go to https://www.realchangenews.org/2007/03/28/mar-28-2007-entire-issue