Residents petition schools regarding military recruiting
A petition with signatures from over 70 local residents, concerned about unfettered military recruiting in the schools, was recently delivered to Socorro's school district. The petition asks that Socorro's school system either allow an alternate viewpoint to be presented to students (sometimes called "counter-recruiting") or, barring that, to stop military recruiting in the schools altogether. Counter-recruiting usually involves a group of military veterans speaking with students about the horrors of war, and admonishing them that joining the military may not be the glamorous and sexy experience depicted in marketing brochures and television commercials. It is called "counter recruiting" because its goal is to give students another perspective from the military recruiters that are paid by the military to "sell" military service to youngsters.
Over the last several years, Socorro area schools have consistently allowed military recruiters access to the student population. Such access has included recruiters being allowed to give formal presentations in classrooms, recruiters being allowed to set up booths or hand out brochures at athletic activities and other student events, and even the occasional flamboyant event such as landing a military helicopter at one of the schools.
Some Socorro residents find military recruiting in the schools troubling. They believe schools should be places of learning, not training and recruiting arenas for the military. In any case, they argue, students should be given a balanced perspective and be afforded the opportunity to hear both sides of the story when it comes to important issues such as war and peace.
The petition also asks that students be given an "opt-out" form which they can sign at the beginning of the school year, so as to be taken off the military's postal (junk) mail list. Socorro schools currently have a form with a checkbox that students may check to take them off both military mailing lists and collegiate recruiters' mailing lists. Many students want collegiate recruiters to contact them, so they do not check the box. The petition asks that these two items be separated into two distinct checkboxes or forms, so that students may opt-out of just military recruiting, just collegiate recruiting, or neither (or both).
The full text of the petition in PDF format is attached here. Readers agreeing with the petition may sign a copy at Sundance Gifts on the plaza.