Targeting the Innocent

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

young people who, when done with
high-school, want to “achieve something
big in their lives.” To many, that means
joining the armed services. But when
should the line be drawn for recruiters who enter our public
educational facilities? Reports of recruiters targeting
people as young as 14 and 15 years-old at Urbana High
School have raised speculation if the military is targeting
younger people because they are facing record lows in
signups. Military recruiters being given blatant and unrestricted
access to students, without notification to parents
and without counter-recruitment material available to students,
has become the norm at UHS. In the guidance office
at UHS, booklets proclaiming the benefits of joining the
armed services are seen throughout the office, yet the
guidance office still lacks basic counter-recruitment literature,
something that should be necessary to create a balanced
opinion at the school.
One must ask the question if Urbana High School is
deliberately ignoring counter recruitment material offered
by anti-war groups, such as the Anti-War Anti-Racism
Effort (AWARE), or is the administration simply lacking
the basic principle of giving students the adequate
resources to make their own decisions? This past school
year, students eating in the lunchrooms at UHS were
exposed to recruiters giving out free prizes and other
incentives to interest freshman and sophomores. Glynn
Davis remembers last year when they were in the lunchroom:
“The way the men went about engaging the students
was to host push-up contests. The winner receiving
a prize of cups and gift cards.”
When I was a freshman myself, the recruiters had tried
the controversial tactics on my friends and myself. After
seeing this, I notified local activist and former school
administrator Durl Kruse about the predicament occurrng
in the lunchroom. Kruse then talked with Dr. Laura Taylor,
principal of UHS, about the issue. Dr. Taylor told him that
she had no idea it was ever occurring and would put an
end to it. But, stories by students of aggressive recruiting
further lay out the issue of accountability. The school
board has failed to recognize the questionable misconduct
that has taken place at UHS.
It is becoming increasingly known that military
recruiters use outlandish statements to entice students into
joining. Using a free ride through college as leverage to get
young people to join, and the promise of getting a job
thereafter, are the biggest talking points used by recruiters.
But the growing homeless rate of veterans has only contradicted
that promise. The legality of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan also brings up the issue of whether recruiters
are forthcoming about the premise of going to war in the
first place. Another major issue is stop-loss, which has
recently become widely known as the “backdoor draft.”
Stop-loss allows the military to involuntary keep a soldier
in service longer than they originally signed up for. Along
with the threat of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),
and other mental problems that have become common as
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq progress, the military
fails to let young and often innocent students know about
these significant issues. Due to the No Child Left Behind
Act, the government, and subsequently the military, are
given contact information for every student attending
public high school.
The premise of the public educational system is to provide
an unbiased haven where young people can go to
learn techers and from each other. The presence of military
recruiters only debunks that idea. As a 16-year-old, I not
only find it appalling, but saddening that the military is
resorting to targeting young minors, who, like me, often
lack the judgment and the experience to make life changing
and, to be frank, extremely dangerous decisions. Students
should be allowed to find their path on their own
terms while in school, to find where their passions lie, and
not be preyed upon by United States Military.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.