Offering Counter Recruiting at the High School in North Carolina -Legal Battle Ahead? Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Offering Counter Recruiting at the High School in North Carolina -Legal Battle Ahead?

30 August 2008 at 11:52:28 AM

The military have access to your children at the high school. Most high schools also allow counter recruiters that come in to setup a table and talk about non-military options to do so. (GRISD has done so in the past). Here's a story about a foolish school district in Wilkes County, NC.

Superintendent Stephen Laws reviewed the materials and told her in the spring of 2005 that he wasn't going to allow her in the schools. He said the military was a good career choice for students who weren't going to college. He also didn't think people should say anything negative about the military.

Disappointed but determined, Ferrell called every school board member and even spoke at a board meeting. The board backed Laws' decision.

In September 2005, Ferrell turned to the ACLU. Two years passed before the group reached an agreement with the board: Ferrell would be allowed in the high schools twice a semester.

Ferrell set up a "peace table" in the hallways, where she handed out materials and talked to students about AmeriCorps and other alternatives to the military.

"All we want to do is make students aware that there are other ways to find college money and serve your country without joining the military. We want to save lives," she said.

But by December, Laws said he had enough. A principal had complained to him about some of the materials, and Laws told Ferrell her message was no longer welcomed.

"We allow recruiters into the schools to recruit for post-high school opportunities. But she wasn't offering that," he said.

He said he grew tired of her disparaging remarks about the military and decided to take a stand _ even if it led to a lawsuit.

"We're just not going to allow her to do that anymore," he said, adding that administrators have authority to regulate who speaks in schools.

Recruiters say the controversy has made it more difficult for them to do their job.

Before Ferrell's campaign, they had unfettered access to schools and students. Now, they can only visit twice a semester. And when they do, they have to stand at a table outside the cafeterias. They can't sit down and talk with students while they're eating lunch.

"I may not like it, but you have to live by the rules," said Army Sgt. R. Scott Gianfrancesco.

High schools are still the best place for leads, said Gianfrancesco, 38, who became a recruiter in 2003. Under federal law, schools are required to turn over students' names, addresses and phone numbers to military recruiters. The Army wants 80,000 enlistees a year. He says his office has to sign up four people a month.

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