Saturday, May 21, 2005

Feed and care of a Volunteer Army

While most Parent Teacher Student Association meetings might center on finding funding for better math books or the best way to chaperon a school dance, a recent meeting here at Garfield High School grappled with something much larger - the war in Iraq.

The school is perhaps one of the first in the nation to debate and vote against military recruiting on high school campuses - a topic already simmering at the college level. In fact, the Supreme Court recently agreed to decide whether the federal government can withhold funds from colleges that bar military recruiters.

High schools are struggling with a similar issue as the No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools receiving federal funding must release the names of its students to recruiters. Some feel that's an invasion of privacy prompted by a war effort that has largely divided the American public. Others say barring recruiters is an infringement of free speech - and a snub to the military, particularly in a time of war.

Garfield High School took a decisive step last week with a vote of 25 to 5 to adopt a resolution that says "public schools are not a place for military recruiters."

All this comes as recruiters struggle to meet enlistment goals.

Two paragraphs from the end is this:

...the resolution by Garfield's PTSA is more symbol than policy, for Seattle, like virtually all school districts, requires high schools to give recruiters access to students - or risk losing federal funding under Section 9528 of the act. School districts also are required to notify parents and students that they may "opt out" by signing a letter preventing recruiters from getting their names.

In response to Garfield's resolution, Seattle's district issued a statement reinforcing its policy of allowing recruiters to work on high school campuses, but also said it would increase efforts next fall to make it easier for parents and students to opt out.

LINK: Christian Science Monitor.
Tip to Debbie

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