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Do you think public schools should be required to provide military recruiters with students’ contact information?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 22, 2007

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Photo of Christina Leonard

“No, I don’t. I think it’s the parents’ prerogative to give out any personal information about their children.”

Photo of Alan Coppage

“Yes. I think all graduating high school students should have to serve minimum military service.”

Photo of Sam Goodell

“No. Sure there are other ways the recruiters can get the information they need other than by forcing public schools to give up their records.”

Photo of Jasmine Walthall

“No. If the student is interested, they will find a way to learn about it. The recruiters have other outlets for finding the people they need.”


salad 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Coppage has the right idea, but millitary service shouldn't be manditory. A system like they have in Germany and Austria is better: 13 months millitary service- OR- 19 months civil service if you are opposed to the millitary. Civil service covers a wide range of stuff: working in an old folks home, park infrastructure repair, clerical, etc... Both military and civil service are paid, everyone has to do it. The govenor of California served in Tank company.

trinity 10 years, 10 months ago


i think the question of the day for a friday should be "what would YOU do for a Klondike bar??"

friday friday friDAY friday friday friDAY friday friday friDAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY! :)

i'd start a conga line.

Godot 10 years, 10 months ago

Don't all 18 year olds have to register with the selective service, anyway? What's the difference?

Raider 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Coppage. I think that all students upon graduating high school should serve a madatory 2 years in the military. No exceptions, period. Regardless of economic status. The only exemptions should be for those who are physically unable to (handicapped).

Wasn't aware that Germany offered an "either / or" type of program, but I think that's great too. Anerican kids are too self-absorbed and maybe some sort of program like this will better prepare them for the world.

packrat 10 years, 10 months ago

Salad may be onto something. Perhaps in exchange for a longer period of "domestic" service, the person would qualify for "GI Bill" type education assistance.

Kat Christian 10 years, 10 months ago

It wouldn't hurt our young men to serve 2 years of military service right out of high school as they do in Sweden, because most will continue on at University. I think it would raise our standard of life here in the U.S. Create responsible and displined youth instead of what we have now - disrespectful, lazy, violent, sloven kids (not all). Look at the crime caused by mostly young people. So what the parents don't teach them hopefully they can learn in a discipline environment as the military. It's not all about teaching how to kill or defend. It teaches how to think for yourself, and think wisely, self-discipline and being a proud person and proud of your country. Plus we need to strengthen our military for the future they may come. HOWEVER, I do NOT think our children's personal information should be given to a recruitment office. It wouldn't be necessary if they were to serve 2 years after high school.

Nate Poell 10 years, 10 months ago

Godot, there are several differences. First off, when you register w/Selective Service, you're 18 -- typically out of high school and on your own. And you're not directly providing that information to recruiters. (It may get filtered to recruiters eventually, but I think that's debatable.) The contact information being discussed here is going directly to recruiters, who are -- let's face it -- ridiculously persistent and often less than honest when trying to get people to sign up for service. And, they have a captive audience if they make personal visits to high schools.

I'm in favor of kids engaging in federal service -- preferably Americorps or Peace Corps, but military service is noble, too -- but opposed to making it mandatory or providing recruiters with their personal contact information.

gccs14r 10 years, 10 months ago

Sending kids off to be brainwashed into being good little Republicans is a bad idea. A better idea is to have whoever wants to send our kids off to war walk point. Real leaders used to do exactly that.

canyon_wren 10 years, 10 months ago

Good comments, sunshine_noise. We all know kids at loose ends who have "found themselves" while serving in the military after high school. That seems to be a difficult time for young men, in particular, when they are not ready to make some life decisions and unsure about college, etc. I think the option of some national community service would help, too. Something along the lines of the program described in a recent essay by Leonard Pitts about some young people rehabilitating deteriorated houses, etc. There is certainly plenty to do in our own country, without having to go to a Third World country.

I definitely DON'T think that public schools should be ALLOWED (let alone REQUIRED) to provide recruiters with student information--that is a real invasion of privacy, in my opinion. I DO think that there should be a recruiting office--temporarily, say for the month of April, or whatever--in high schools so that kids can come in to see someone if they are interested in the services. I agree with Jasmine, above, that if kids want to know more about it, they have ways to find out--witness the signs at the post office. There are surely websites, etc.

james bush 10 years, 10 months ago

The government may/could just reinstate registering for the draft and get information that way.

deec 10 years, 10 months ago

They don't get access to the girls' info through selective service registration. By using the schools, they can inundate every high schooler with glossy recruiting ads.

james bush 10 years, 10 months ago

Females should register for the draft too.

Marcus DeMond 10 years, 10 months ago

I think they should give the military the names of those who drop out of high school.

Mandatory military service would be fine for everyone if we only went to war to protect our country. Unfortunately, we like to be the worlds police and end up in the middle of other countries civil wars.

I wonder if the people who support Operation Iraqi Freedom would support an Operation Iran Freedom too?

Friday is here. I'm going to India Palace!!!

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 10 months ago

Absolutely not. And that you can't even get in your year book if you opt out is frickin' outrageous!!

But I do agree with other posters that 2 years of service be required after high school, whether grad or drop out, in military or community service for those that may be conscientious objectors. And military only when we get these blood thirsty idiots currently running the show voted out.

Uh, Jim, you serious? Registering for the draft/selective service was brought back over 25 years ago.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 10 months ago

sunshine_noise, canyon wren...making two years of military service mandatory after high school? Do you think this should include girls, too?

The military teaches them how to think for themselves? Come on...the military teaches people how to be good little soldiers, which means teaching them to have a group mentality above all else...and most teenagers already have that anyway.

You do remember that little thing called Iraq? Do you really think, if kids were required to serve two years in the military, that they wouldn't end up in Iraq right away? Do you think dying in Iraq is a good way to learn life lessons?

And Sweden is a neutral country, always has been. People in the military there rarely have to see combat at all. The same certainly can't be said about anyone in the military in the U.S. at this point in time.

The idea of either the military or civil service could be a good idea...but do we really expect kids to put their lives on hold for two years while they fulfill that obligation? Would they have to wait to go to college? A lot of kids might just decide not to go to college at all if they had to wait for two years first.

Or would it be just a weekend thing, or maybe for just so many hours worth in a year, hours that you could do on your own schedule?

And another thought...if you want to make it mandatory for kids to serve two years in the military right out of high school, then you might as well just bring back the draft.

The result would be the same.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 10 months ago

Oh, and no, I don't think schools should be forced to give student's personal information to recruiters.

That sounds like something the Nazis would have done. Catch 'em early, so you can brainwash them into your way of thinking.

Crispian Paul 10 years, 10 months ago

Absolutely not! Schools don't give out personal student information for any other purposes unless expressly approved by the parents. This looks to me like another move toward a military state.

Thomas Lubaczewski 10 years, 10 months ago

I also believe in the 2 year mandatory service either military or civil for both men and women. The military does not create little soldiers that can't think for themselves. Don't confuse taking orders with a mob mentality. If someone truely wants to go to college 2 years isn't going to deter them, it actually might make them better prepared. Those kids that would choose not to go after the two years of service more then likely would drop out of college anyway. And as far as bringing back the draft, at least with a mandatory two years of service it's somewhat fair, unlike the draft.

gogoplata 10 years, 10 months ago

I 2nd, Hell No.

We should get rid of selective service while we are at it. I'd never go to Iraq to possibly get killed.

gogoplata 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm in favor of people doing whatever the hell they want, as long as it doesn't hurt someone else. This is America, not Germany or Sweden. The land of the FREE! Any type of government service should never be required. If you want to serve in the military, fine. If you want to spend all day skateboarding, playing video games, and eating cheetos, thats fine too.

Don't tread on me.

coolmom 10 years, 10 months ago

some kind of service after high school sounds like a good idea to me with exceptions for kids who are accepted to school and stay in for at least 2 year or a job program etc. there should be a decent set of exceptions if the kid is doing something else decent. as for the military getting info from our kids schools? heck no! either ask the parents to give permission or leave them alone until they are 18.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 10 months ago

And who gets to determine if what they're doing is "decent", coolmom?

Kathy Theis-Getto 10 years, 10 months ago

A very important point all are missing is that it doesn't really matter what we think at this point, this regulation was put into effect in 2002 with NCLB, and corresponds to a DOD mandate. FERPA allows for schools to divulge "directory information" unless a parent opts out of some or all of that information. This includes name, address, and phone number, to name a few. How the school handles the required FERPA notice and the subsequent permission or opt out given by the parents will determine what the military receives. It also determines what, if any information is given to post secondary schools, and prospective employers, or any Joe Blow, for that matter who walks in off the street and asks for a copy of the student directory. The DOD has contracted this data collection out to a private company that is also keeping a list of students whos parents opted out! How many parents even remember signing a FERPA notice? Read EVERYTHING you sign carefully at enrollment, ask questions if you don't understand, and don't assume anything.

beatrice 10 years, 10 months ago

Yes, schools should be forced to do it. At gunpoint, with a lot of yelling and agressive gesturing. Think of the list of names and addresses being like Elian Gonzalez, being taken away with brute force amid crying and screaming bystanders. That is the only way I can see the schools giving up the names of its students to military recruiters, because the schools shouldn't give them up willingly.

"Don't tread on me." Good slogan. I think I'll paint it on my roof.

jonas 10 years, 10 months ago

Ahhh, not an issue I see as a big deal. If students want to sign up, fine. They should certainly talk to their parents first, and think about what they're doing. I talked to the military, and they all vanished when I told them about the disc in my back that exploded in 8th grade, no problem. Whoops, sidetracked. Anyway, no kids under 18, it's as good a way as any to get potential recruits of age to learn about what the military has to offer, without causing perspective bias due to overprotective or over-political parents clouding their children's eyes with bias (and parents are far more dangerous in warping their children's minds one way or the other than the government could ever hope to be). Of course, underage equals off-limits.

jonas 10 years, 10 months ago

And Trinity, et all, get with the program! It's three in the morning on a Saturday, not Friday. I don't know what you think you're talking about.

james bush 10 years, 10 months ago

Azure, thx ........I'm out of touch apparently. I do think females should be registered!...if ,of course, they are not already and that is something else I've missed along the way!

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 10 months ago

Jim, currently it's only males that are required to register and I think that's biased. But if it were to change, we potentially have mommy and daddy getting drafed and that would be a whole other mess. They have to work out exceptions before implementing selective service/draft of both sexes.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm a little perplexed as to how two years of some sort of service constitutes putting your life on hold. I think that's a bit extreme. Okay, I think that's a lot extreme.

person184 10 years, 10 months ago

I had a recruiter call me night after night my senior year and insinuate that I was unpatriotic.He basically tried the "military" strategies of bullying and humiliation. I finally told him I was a pacifist and my religion supported this. He was no longer interested. Kids should not be put up for sale for marketing from the military. The war in Iraq paints the clearest picture with the answer to this question.

trinity 10 years, 10 months ago

well there jonas, jonaaaaaas, the jon man, jonarama, jonalamadingdong...i'm officially blitzed then, if it's 3 a.m. of a saturday nite! ;)

i gots to get busy!!!

coneflower 10 years, 10 months ago

no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no

coolmom 10 years, 10 months ago

by decent i mean almost any kind of service that takes a couple of years with exceptions for hardship etc. i think it should include almost any kind of job training, public service, peace corp, building or repairing houses, childcare, military service etc. they should also be paid while being trained as well as earn college money etc. i dont think that things like gangs or any illegal activity should apply of course. by loose i mean something likely to benifit first the childyoung adult and then someone else especially our country in some way. i think we need to do something fairly drastic to improve our young people and our country.

beatrice 10 years, 10 months ago

RI: "Seems like a bunch of people are all "up in arms" that military recruiters have the same access to students and student directory information as "educational marketers" like this company ... Yet it seems they only take issue to military recruiters being able to get the same information as direct marketing scum."

Simply put, military recruiters are more dangerous than your average company or college. When military recruiters do their job properly, they put the lives of young people at risk by placing those young people in war zones. If parents don't get all up in arms over the possible death of their child, then what should they get up in arms over?

coneflower 10 years, 10 months ago

Recruiters harass kids by phone. They don't take no for an answer.

beatrice 10 years, 10 months ago

"can someone become more hysterical, please?" I could frequently rant about how everyone who isn't happy with the direction the country is headed obviously hates Bush, and that liberals want to destroy America. Do you mean "more hysterical" like that? Funny thing is, I wasn't even being emotional, let alone hysterical, just pointing out the facts.

I understand and appreciate that some people want to go where the fighting takes place. Many soldiers are like firefighters that way, I say good for them and thank you. However, recruiters do more than just sign kids up who already want to join, as you seem to suggest. One need not recruit the willing. They actually recruit those who are reluctant to join. It is the very name of what they do -- recruit. Otherwise, their title would be something more like Application Accepter.

I'm quite sure the best recruiters know how to downplay, or even glamorize, the whole "you could die if you join" thing. All I am saying is that companies and universities recruiting high-schoolers isn't the same as the army, and that parents should be able to prevent army recruiters from soliciting their kid. Because you can die if you join.

but good one on the questionable hygenics habits -- what is up with that, anyway? Be anti-war, but be so having showered and applied deodorant. You catch more flies with honey than with you do with vinegar (good god, typing lines like that I must be getting old).

coneflower 10 years, 10 months ago

75x55: You can probably resist a telemarketer. Do you want the same one phoning you repeatedly after you've told them you are not interested? Would you want them phoning your minor child repeatedly?

coolmom 10 years, 10 months ago

lol are you kidding me? many of our young people are fine examples of humanity i agree. i do rremember high school and the years after however and the drug and alcohol haven that can be lawrence. the lives wasted smoking dope or ending up in jail. i bet half of the people i was in school with ended up in bad places. i think those years are a sensitive time for our young people and that they should have more options, more guidance more everything. i am not saying the military is the answer i am saying there should be other options as it seems it is harder and more expensive to go to college than ever before and we should do something about all that and teach our kids some good life lessons and skills on the way. oh and i cant resist saying you cant hug your kids with nuclear arms lol.

coolmom 10 years, 10 months ago

oh and dear i am not a kid either as i am closer to your age than any other. why would you tell me i need self improvement and need to get the mote out? because i believe kids would benefit from more choices? more education? i have worked in a high school the last year and many teens are hopeless about their future. if mom and dad dont have money and even at times when they do these kids feel stifled, angry and many are on paths that lead to pain for them and their families. have you noticed the gun violence in kids? not all mind you but why cant i advocate for the ones that do need more help?

purplesage 10 years, 10 months ago

The recruiters come to college and career days. They get the names of interested students there. But since we are struggling to maintain a volunteer force, these guys have a tough job, particularly with active conflict raging. Many countries require military service. I don't see a problem with the option of military service being provided to our HS seniors. The problem is the degree to which it is glorified for something it isn't. People kill and get killed in the military. Many enlistees (or draftees of my generation) who are really just kids themselves, are in no way prepared for the horrors that await them.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 10 months ago

There has ALWAYS been the "option" for high school seniors (although the ones the recruiters go after aren't always seniors, you know) to join the military, if that's what they want. Recruiters have been in existence for as long as the military has, and high school kids know the military exists.

If they want to join after high school, or after they turn 18, then it's a simple enough matter to look up the phone number or address of the recruiters in the phone book, and contact them.

Kids frequently don't know their own minds, and that is the main thing I see wrong with recruiters targeting teenagers. A teenager can change their minds ten times in an hour over what to wear tonight. Once they join the military, they can't change their minds.

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