By David Swanson and Pat Elder
According to statements in February by the Secretary of the Army, various U.S. high schools are barring military recruiters from access to students. The Secretary of the Navy this past December said that public school boards are keeping military recruiters out of 1,100 high schools.
The two of us are offering a $1,000 prize (details below) to any public U.S. high school that can identify itself as fitting this description.
Peace activists who struggle to gain admittance to high schools to present the case against military enlistment have not in recent years encountered a school that barred admittance to the military. The military has not publicly named a single example from its claimed list of 1,100 public high schools.
In fact, federal law requires schools that receive federal funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act to allow in military recruiters if they allow in college or job recruiters.
The possibility exists that the Pentagon is being as honest here as it was about Iraqi WMDs, and that recruiters’ difficulties in recent years are not due to schools’ policies, but rather to the low unemployment rate and the unpopularity of participating in endless brutal wars that serve no clear purpose, increase hostility toward the United States, and leave participants at heightened risk of death, physical injury, brain damage, PTSD, moral injury, violent crime, homelessness, and suicide.
It is also possible that one or more high schools have barred military recruiters but are reluctant to publicly advertise the fact in the highly militarized culture of the United States. If so, those schools deserve our thanks and the reassurance that we are doing everything we can to develop a more peaceful culture.
A third possibility is that there really are hundreds of high schools out there protecting their students from military recruiters and proud to say so. For those schools, here are the details of the award we are offering:
Post online a 2-minute video with the tag #recruiterfreeschool explaining why your school keeps out military recruiters. If more than one video is submitted, we will choose the best one. We will award that school $1,000 to help organize a peace day of educational activities, and we will further volunteer our services to speak, recruit speakers, recruit additional sponsors, provide resources, and create a peace-jobs fair.