ACLU and Teachers Seek Answers About Military Recruiters at Los Angeles Public Schools

March 29, 2005 12:00 am

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Students Are Not Getting Accurate Information on Alternatives to Military Service, Charge Parents

LOS ANGELES – Citing concerns that military recruiters are targeting low-income students and students of color on the campuses of public schools in Los Angeles County, a group of teachers, parents, students and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California joined together to demand more information about how the military recruits public school students.

The group filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with the armed services to determine the criteria by which recruiters target students, the tactics and methods recruiters use, and the information they give to students about military careers.

“We are concerned our students are being targeted and are enlisting without getting accurate and complete information on military service and alternatives,” said Arlene Inouye, a teacher at Roosevelt High School and member of the Coalition Against Militarism In Our Schools. “We want kids to make the choices they want, but we want them to have information about many future opportunities like college, scholarships and jobs.”

The ACLU said that there are legal guidelines that public schools must follow when allowing military recruiters on school campuses.

“First, the public has a right to know how and why recruiters are talking to certain kids at certain schools. Second, parents who want to give balanced information to students getting biased, pro-military information should be able to do so,” said Ranjana Natarajan, an ACLU attorney.

The ACLU also sent a strongly worded letter today to the Whittier Union High School District on behalf of parent Orlando Terrazas after the district denied his request to place flyers titled “Do you Know Enough to Enlist?” alongside military recruitment posters in the hallways of Whittier High School.

“I wanted to get accurate information to students who are swarmed with pro-military messages,” Terrazas said. “Whether or not students enlist, they need to have all the facts, not half the facts, so they can make the right choice.”

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