Schools eye restrictions on military recruiters

Chicago Public Schools administrators are weighing a new policy that would restrict military recruiting activities on high school campuses, officials said.

The move comes in response to concerns about the conduct of recruiters. At a Board of Education meeting last Wednesday, a group of seniors from Englewood Achievement Academy High School complained that  military personnel were harassing students by roaming the hallways and taking students out after school hours.

"There is too much military access to the CPS," said one of the students, Brittany Barnes. "There is not enough being done about the issue."

At present, the Board does not have a policy governing the conduct of recruiters.

CPS spokesman Malon Edwards said that the Board's current policy offers "equal access to all post-secondary education [institutions] and careers. After high school, we have information on how students can get jobs."

Many of these jobs are military-based.

In urban public schools, the recruiters exert an overwhelming presence, according to Barnes.

"If military service is voluntary, why can't people go to recruiting centers instead of recruiters showing up at schools to harass us," Barnes said.

Federal law bars outright prohibition of military recruitment in public schools.

In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the federal Solomon Amendment, which allows the government to withhold federal funding from universities that deny military recruiters the same access to students that other recruiters have.

CPS is nevertheless attempting to accommodate the concerns of students.

"Military recruiters will have to be designated to certain areas of the schools. They will be unable to roam the hallways," Edwards said.

Although Edwards was unaware of other specific changes, he mentioned that certain policy stipulations were undergoing "clarification."

"This policy is still in its baby steps," said Sheena Gibbs, program associate of the Truth in Recruitment program.

The Truth in Recruitment program is a Chicago-based subset of the American Friends and Service committee that aims to reveal the "harsh realities of military services."

Gibbs says she doesn't know what changes will be made.

"We haven't yet seen the policy," Gibbs said. "The Board has been slow with the process."


RON, 10-03-2007

Those students free speech rights are available only because of the soldier that stands guard over their liberties. Those kids should be proud to see recruiters in their halls.