Recruiting Policy Victory!
- On November 30, 2010, the San Diego Unified board of trustees adopted a landmark policy, proposed by ENAC, to regulate recruiting activities in the one of the nation's largest school districts.
The policy was proposed in response to complaints by San Diego high school students who saw an imbalance in the kind information they received about post-graduation career and college options. Students from working-class neighborhoods were frequently being approached at school and asked for their contact information by aggressive military recruiters—in lunch areas, in classrooms and at special assemblies (see below for an example). At the same time, these students rarely saw college recruiters at their schools and were, thus, made to feel that the military was their only option.
Believing that ALL San Diego students should receive equal access to college information and balanced counseling regarding career options, ENAC worked with students and others to draft a policy to address the problem. Some recruiting guidelines adopted in other cities were incorporated, along with new elements added to strengthen the document. The result was a policy, adopted by a 4-1 vote of the school board, to establish equal access to information and curb aggressive recruiting activities that violate student privacy and parental rights. The policy applies equally to all recruiters, whether they represent military branches, colleges, trade schools, employers or organizations offering alternative information on military careers.
- A summary of what the policy says:
All recruiters must comply with the following guidelines:
a. Except when attending a centralized school career/college fair or making an administrative visit, recruiters must contact schools prior to their visit to schedule specific times to be on campus.
b. All recruiting organizations are limited to visiting a school twice each school year, except for centralized school career/college fair or visits with school personnel.
c. All recruiters must sign in and out in the school’s main office each time they visit the campus.
d. Recruiters shall not have unfettered access to students in classrooms, cafeterias, gyms, or other areas of the school.
e. No recruiting activity is permitted that would disrupt the conduct of normal school activities or interfere with pupils.
f. Recruiters shall limit all recruiting activities to a specific confined space on the campus (such as an office or next to an outside table); recruiters may not roam the campus or school grounds. Recruiters may not pursue or approach students; recruiting activities may only be directed at students who affirmatively approach the recruiter for information.
g. Recruiters visiting schools shall not at any time solicit contact information directly from students or require it as a condition to participate in an activity or receive an award or gift. Recruiters may provide their contact information to students who wish to get in touch with them outside of school.
h. All recruiters must clearly identify the organization that they are recruiting for: military recruiters must be in uniform, and all other recruiters must wear identification that similarly indicates the organization that they are recruiting for.
i. Displays of weapons are not permitted at any time, including weapons simulators.
j. Violations of these guidelines can result in the loss of school access.
In addition to the above recruiter guidelines, schools may no longer administer the military's aptitude test (the ASVAB) unless it is done under ASVAB release option 8, which specifies that test information may not be used for recruiting purposes.
The key to winning this campaign, which lasted over a year, was the dedication of many students, parents and the community groups who supported them, including Project YANO, MEChA, ARSO, ARE, ACLU, and the Privacy Rts. Clearinghouse. Another key factor was school board members who were sensitive to the concerns expressed by those who were most affected by the lack of recruiting guidelines (Richard Barrera, John Lee Evans, Shelia Jackson, and the policy sponsor, John de Beck).
To see how the campaign was waged, see the links below.
Original community flier (English/Spanish)
Letter to the district from ENAC
Documentation attached to ENAC's letter
Letter to the district from the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties
Letter to the district from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Call to attend school board meeting (English/Spanish)
The FINAL APPROVED POLICY
- Video of school board hearings:
First hearing, Nov. 9, 2010: Drag progress bar to 73:00, hearing lasts 25 minutes
Second hearing and vote, Nov. 30, 2010: Drag progress bar to 101:30, hearing lasts 49 minutes
Nov. 9 and Nov. 30 hearings
For more information: contact projyano[at]aol.com
An example of the kind of recruiting activities that will no longer be permitted under the new policy:
In 2009, students at Mission Bay HS were called to an award assembly for one of the school's athletes. Once there, they discovered it was really a major promotion of the Army, including Army exhibits and skydivers. Students were pressured by military personnel to surrender personal information by signing up for an iPod drawing.