Recruiters in Schools

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In June 2009 New York City Department of Education (DOE) issued Chancellor's Regulation A-825 on military recruiters in schools. This policy came out of several years of work by the Ya-Ya Network and the other members of the Students or Soldiers Coalition. It isn't perfect, but it is one of the most progressive policies in the country. Unfortunately the DoE isn't doing much about making sure this policy is actually implemented.

Many principals don't even know it exists. Some school principals have implemented their own policies, but in many cases they are unaware of their rights and responsibilities in regard to recruiter access. As a result, in many schools military recruiters come and go as often as they want, roam the halls, hang out in the cafeteria, remove students from class, and meet alone with students behind closed doors.

To get more information about the Chancellor's Regulation and what you can do to limit military recruiters in your school, go to

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) [1] requires that military recruiters be given the same access to schools as college and employmentrecruiters.

Equal access does not mean free access.

There are many reasons for students, parents, teachers and the DOE to be concerned about the unsupervised presence of military recruitersroaming the halls, hanging out in the cafeteria or occupying class time. The General Accounting Office (GAO) has recently issued an report, created at the request of Congress, on the growing incidence and severity of misconduct by military recruiters, including misrepresentation, criminal violations, coercion and harassment.[2]

Also, the Associated Press found more than 100 cases of rape and sexual assault committed by recruiters. Most of these cases involved 16 to 18 year old girls who met the recruiters who assaulted them in their high schools.[3]

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Schools have the right and the obligation to set standards for the time and place that outsiders may recruit in the school. For example, if each college comes once or twice a year, each branch of the military can come an equal number of times. Each school needs a policy that reaffirms the school’s control over recruitment on campus. Here is some information that may help you to design an appropriate policy for your school:

Military recruiters present themselves as offering an opportunity to students and a service to schools. However, the Army provides itsrecruiters with an instruction manual called the School Recruiting Program Handbook, in which the first paragraph states that
“School ownership is the goal.”[4]

Military recruiters are instructed to always “have something to give [school staff] (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.)” to “establish rapport and credibility.” Recruiters are repeatedly reminded that “Once educators are convinced recruiters have their students’ best interest in mind the SRP [School Recruiting Program] can be effectively implemented.”

One of the primary reasons that young people enlist and that educators support this choice is the promise of money for college. Yet the School Recruiting Program Handbook states that the purpose of financial education incentives is:

“To encourage college-capable individuals to DEFER THEIR COLLEGE
until after they have served in the military.”[emphasis added]

Less than half of the recruits who signed up for college money under the Montgomery GI Bill ever received a penny.[5]

Recruiters are told to present military programs such as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and education incentives such as the G.I. Bill so that they will appeal to the school community, while their actual purpose is to increase enlistment.

For example: A flyer designed to “market” the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test states: “The ASVAB program is designed to help students learn more about themselves and the world of work, identify and explore potentially satisfying occupations,
and develop an effective strategy to realize their goals” [6]

However, The School Recruiting Program Handbook states that the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is: “specifically designed to provide recruiters with a source of prequalified leads...The ASVAB recruiter printout provides information you can’t get from any other list. It...provides the recruiter with concrete and personal information about the student.”

What Can be Done in Schools

Limit visits by military recruiters to no more often than college and employment recruiters.

Assure that recruiters are not to be alone with students. Recruiters must not disrupt the school day or roam the school unsupervised.

If the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is given, schools must select “Option 8. No release to recruiters” which allows the school to get test results but prevents the military from accessing this information.

Guidance counselors and college advisors need to be prepared to help students explore the full range of college, training & vocational options available to them. Keep guidance / college / career office stocked with accurate “alternatives to the military” and "truth about recruiting" materials.

Invite a “counter recruiter” to present the other side of this controversial issue each time a military recruiter has been allowed to present their views.

Students, parents & school staff need to report recruiter misconduct to the local recruitment command & the Dept. of Education.

[1] No Child Left Behind Act SEC. 9528
[2] US Government Accountability Office, Report to Congressional Requesters, August 2006 “MILITARY RECRUITING: DOD and Services Need Better Data to Enhance Visibility over Recruiter Irregularities” 2006.
[3] “ Sexual Abuse By Military Recruiters” Associated Press, Aug. 20, 2006
[4] School Recruiting Program Handbook, USAREC Pamphlet 350-13
[5] George Rachon, Department of Veterans Affairs quoted in: "Military Money for College: A Reality Check" by Sam Diener & Jamie Munro, 2005. And Dept. of Veterans Affairs quoted in “GI Blues,” Elizabeth Farrell, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 13, 2005
[6] ”Helping Teens Explore Their Career Options”