Limiting access by military personnel to high school campuses has become the mission of Veterans for Peace and the Santa Barbara Friends Meeting (Quakers) members. A few dozen people showed up to the Faulkner Gallery last Saturday to discuss the matter and hear a handful of panelists talk about alternative opportunities for service and stricter policies in San Diego. “It’s kind of become this very casual notion that everyone is used to the military in our lives,” said Santa Barbara High School parent Kate Connell, citing “chin-up challenges” with Marines on campus as one example.
Per No Child Left Behind (and tied to federal funding), public high schools must allow the same access to military recruiters as they do for college and career recruiters. School districts can place limits on recruiter campus visits, as long as the same policies apply across the board. Current Santa Barbara Unified School District protocol exists to limit all recruiter visits to twice a year, and it also states recruiters must sign in at the administration office, not have “unfettered” access to students on campus, and not offer awards or gifts in exchange for contact information. But Connell hopes to turn the guidelines into more comprehensive, permanent board policy. Such a policy could cap the number of recruiters at a single visit, detail how the policy would be enforced, and limit data from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test that juniors and seniors take.
Also at issue is the access that military recruiters have to student directory information. Parents (or students 18 years or older) can sign an “opt out” form, but Connell hopes to spread awareness about the form because it comes buried in a hefty packet of papers at the start of each school year. The group will meet again on March 31.