Do Military Recruiters Belong in Public Schools?
The United States Armed Forces can offer an incomparable
opportunity for our country’s youth: paid college tuitions, specialised training, marketable skills, discipline and integrity. A course through the Armed Forces can turn into a lifelong career. This much acknowledged, do recruiters belong in the Public School System? Out of all of the developed countries in the world, the United States is the only one that permits this.
What began as presentations with an open invitation for students to visit recruiting offices, has evolved to a level that goes very much unadvertised by the Recruitment Departments. Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools give the military as much access to campuses and student contact info, as given to any other recruiter. Brian Lagotte, University of Kansas anthropologist has expressed concerns that school officials do not fully understand the policy and have granted unrestricted access of the campus to recruiting officers. He has found that a multitude of schools go so far as to allow military recruiters to coach sports, serve as substitute teachers and engage in extra circular activities.
Unsurprisingly, data released by the Army indicates that their recruitment activities in the State of Connecticut last year disproportionately targeted schools with high levels of low-income students. With all respect and admiration due for the armed forces, this does come across as predatory. And while it’s very much true that the military can offer a viable opportunity to escape the low-income generational cycle; should it be presented so overwhelmingly that it appears the only option? Should we be allowing recruiters to serve as substitute teachers? Or does this cross a line? I welcome you to share your opinions or experiences with this in the comment section below.