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Archive for Sunday, December 9, 2001

Schools differ on allowing recruiters

December 9, 2001

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The Afghanistan war has inflamed controversy about U.S. high schools and colleges that refused to welcome military recruiters and ban ROTC programs.

But that ruckus hasn't surfaced in the Lawrence public school district or at Kansas University.

Dick Patterson, principal of Lawrence High School, said Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines representatives were treated in the same manner as other college or employment recruiters.

"We've allowed them to set up after school ... so students can pick up information if they choose to when they leave school," he said. "We've done that with other organizations."

Recruiters with the armed services can be on the high school campuses during the school day, but after-school meetings work best because students don't miss class.

"We do schedule times for them throughout the year," said Sherry Slade, a counselor at Free State High School.

Recruiters are permitted to freely associate with students at KU, which maintains ROTC programs.

Chief Petty Officer Marty Trumble, a Lawrence Navy recruiter, said in a recent interview that he visits the KU campus at least once a month.

"It's a good place just to walk around and show the uniform," he said.

College students who enlist in the Army, Navy or Air Force may benefit from college-loan repayment programs and from enlistment bonuses.

The student handbooks for Free State and LHS stipulate that representatives of the military academies and college ROTC programs are invited to speak with sophomore and junior students in April of each year.

However, education leaders at other high schools and colleges do not permit the same access.

According to a preliminary report to Congress in July, military recruiters have been denied access to about 3,000 U.S. high schools. And prestigious colleges Harvard, Yale, Stanford don't allow ROTC programs on campus.

Advocates of greater military access to educational institutions said the current war on terrorism requires the government to have the freedom to recruit and train all students interested in military service.

Some opponents say any employer who discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy doesn't deserve access to students.

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