What should be the military recruitment policy in the local area high schools? This will be the concern of a forum and panel discussion on Saturday, March 15, in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library beginning at 2:30 p.m. Santa Barbara’s Veterans for Peace, the Santa Barbara Friends Meeting and the Santa Barbara High School Social Justice Club are sponsoring the forum.
Many parents don’t know that:
• 90% of military recruits sign up while still in high school through the Delayed Entry Program. High schools are required to release students’ directory information to military recruiters — unless parents or students sign an ‘Opt Out’ form.
• 26,000 men and women in the military were sexually assaulted in 2011
• In a report by the Army Surgeon General, three-quarters of young male troops saw someone seriously injured or killed; more than half were attacked or ambushed; 70% experienced an IED explode nearby; and 88 percent received incoming fire.
• There were more suicides among active duty soldiers than there were combat deaths in 2012.
Federal law allows military recruiters the same access to students that is given to college recruiters and prospective employers. Experience shows, however, that military recruiters appear on campuses far more frequently than do college or corporate recruiters. On some campuses, military recruiters freely roam the grounds and hallways, knocking on the doors of classrooms asking to be allowed to present their career profile to the students.
The March 15 forum will consider what is an appropriate policy regulating recruiting on campus. The Los Angeles and San Diego School districts, have adopted policies whereby the soliciting agencies are given equal access. Santa Barbara High School has a policy that currently calls for a balanced recruiter presence; however this is not a district wide policy in Santa Barbara Unified School District. It is time for a consistent policy in our school districts.
Panelists at the forum will include Alejandra Rishton, a veteran who was a multimedia specialist in the army; Pat Alviso, a mother of a serviceman who has been deployed five times and is a member of Military Families Speak Out; Michelle Cohen, a representative of the Great Futures Project, which provides information about alternatives to military service; and Rick Jahnkow, of Project YANO (Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities), who helped organize and draft the San Diego School District policy limiting access by recruiters to high school students. Moderators are Michael Cervantes, an alternative recruiter in the Oxnard Union High School District and Kate Connell, mother of students at Santa Barbara High School and Santa Barbara Junior High School.
Santa Barbara Public Library 40 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara 93101 (805) 962-7653