On Wednesday, Democracy Now! featured a brief segment on four U.S. military recruiting offices in Seattle "shut down when students blocked the entrances to protest recruitment practices and to oppose the occupation of Iraq."[1]  --  Reuters had reported the day befor that Garfield HS was "the first in the United States to tell the military that it is no longer welcome on campus because recruiters unfairly target poor inner-city teens to fight the U.S. war on terror,"[2] and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Jake Ellison reported that "more than 100 college and high school students marched on recruiting offices in Seattle [May 23]. . . . the students blocked the entrances to military offices and pounded on windows in Northgate, the University District and the Central Area."[3]  --  On May 18, the Christian Science Monitor ran a story by Dean Paton reviewing recent controversies around military recruiting, noting that "the Supreme Court recently agreed to decide whether the federal government can withhold funds from colleges that bar military recruiters."[4]  --  The Monitor article also focused on Seattle's Garfield High, where "The school's opposition to military recruitment seems, in part, a result of parents' growing realization that tax money spent for the Iraq war is money not spent on children's educations or other domestic needs," Paton wrote....

1.

ANTI-MILITARY RECRUITING CAMPAIGN HEATS UP AT SEATTLE SCHOOLS
By Amy Goodman, with Amy Hagopian, president and co-chair of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington

Democracy Now!
May 25, 2005

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/05/25/1414224

On Monday, four U.S. military recruiting offices in Seattle were shut down when students blocked the entrances to protest recruitment practices and to oppose the occupation of Iraq. Meanwhile the Parent Teacher Student Association at one school has passed a resolution recommending that military recruiters be barred from the campus.

Students from nine local universities, community colleges, and high schools joined in simultaneous demonstrations. A military recruiting office near the University of Washington and another near Garfield High School were also blockaded by groups of students.

Garfield High School also made news recently when the school's Parent Teacher Student Association passed a resolution recommending that military recruiters be barred from the campus. The resolution, passed on May 9th, was the first of its kind in the state. Seattle school district officials then released a statement stating that under President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, it was illegal to ban only military recruiters -- they must be granted the same access to students as college or job recruiters at schools that receive federal money.

Garfield High School is no stranger to speaking out against the war. In 2002, the school passed a resolution opposing the invasion in Iraq.

--Amy Hagopian, is the president and co-chair of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington. RUSH TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: Joining us on the phone from Seattle is the co-chair of the Parent Teacher Association, Amy Hagopian. She is the mother of a senior at Garfield High. Welcome to Democracy Now!

AMY HAGOPIAN: It’s good to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m sorry we only have a few minutes. Can you quickly explain how did your P.T.A. vote to kick out the recruiters? And what will happen now?

AMY HAGOPIAN: Our P.T.A. has a mission to promote the welfare of children and youth and to support and speak out on their behalf. That's the mission of P.T.A.s everywhere in America. And we would encourage other P.T.A.s to act on behalf of their mission and also look seriously at the recruitment happening in their schools and the nature of that recruitment, the frequency, the intensity, and the hard pressure tactics.

AMY GOODMAN: Your school is almost a third African American?

AMY HAGOPIAN: It is. It's an inner city school that's large and very diverse. It's a magnet school, so there's many high achieving kids and there's many kids who can’t read.

AMY GOODMAN: What will happen if No Child Left Behind Act says you lose federal funding? Will the school actually stop recruiters from coming on campus?

AMY HAGOPIAN: We can’t physically stop them, and we can’t legally stop them, but we can stand at the doors and explain that they're not welcome, as can every high school in the country. Somebody obviously needs to challenge this legally, but that's a hard task to ask of public schools that are strapped for money.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Amy Hagopian, co-chair of the Parent Teacher Association at Garfield High. Another issue we have dealt with in the past is that kids' names are given to the Pentagon automatically by schools, part of the No Child Left Behind Act, unless parents proactively tell the school they don't want those names sent, or the student does, and then those names will not be sent, a story we have covered here.

2.

SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL SEEKS MILITARY RECRUITER BAN
By Linda Thomas

Reuters
May 24, 2005

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N24332906.htm

SEATTLE -- A high school in Seattle has become the first in the United States to tell the military that it is no longer welcome on campus because recruiters unfairly target poor inner-city teens to fight the U.S. war on terror.

"Who goes to fight wars? It's not George Bush's kids or senators' kids or Donald Rumsfeld's nieces and nephews," said Amy Hagopian, co-chairwoman of the Parent Teacher Student Association, PTSA, at Garfield High School.

"It's poor kids who fight wars," Hagopian said.

Earlier in May, the PTSA passed a resolution that said: "Students should not be harassed by military recruiters. . . . The U.S. military should not recruit in public schools."

Despite that, the school has no legal authority to keep recruiters off campus. Under federal law, all school districts are required to release the names and contact information of students to military recruiters.

The issue at Garfield High is part of a national debate as the military struggles to replenish its numbers for the war on terror and the war in Iraq.

The U.S. Supreme Court said earlier this month it will consider whether the government can withhold funding from colleges that bar military recruiters.

"We offer a lot in terms of skill training and money for furthering education," said Douglas Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky. The United States has relied on an all-volunteer military since the draft ended on July 1, 1973.

Garfield is an inner-city high school where one-third of the 1,600 students are black in a city that is predominantly white and Asian.

On Monday, more than 100 high school and college students protested at three military recruiting offices in Seattle.

The National PTA, based in Chicago, supports the Seattle parent-teacher group's action. PTA President Linda Hodge said the resolution is a first step toward "holding lawmakers accountable to their communities."

Hodge said she knew of no other PTA group in the country that had asked military recruiters to stay away from school.

In September 2004, the Army had 6,128 recruiters. By the first week of May this year, that number had risen to 7,545.

"One of the impediments to recruiting is the ongoing war on terrorism," Smith said. "With physical dangers and the risk of death, recruiters have to spend more time and energy talking through what enlisting now holds for an individual and their families."

3.

Local

STUDENTS PICKET MILITARY RECRUITERS
By Jake Ellison

** Protestors don't want them at schools **

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
May 24, 2005

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/225552_protest24.html

Angry that military recruiters come to their schools, more than 100 college and high school students marched on recruiting offices in Seattle yesterday.

Chanting "Education not war, kick recruiters out the door" and other slogans, the students blocked the entrances to military offices and pounded on windows in Northgate, the University District and the Central Area. The three neighborhood rallies began simultaneously at noon.

The young demonstrators said they oppose the war in Iraq and don't want recruiters trying to sign up students at their schools. They also were protesting the fact that military spending continues to rise while the nation's public education system struggles financially.

"I don't want to go to war," said Ob Flores, 17, from Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines. "I want to learn; I don't want to die."

No protesters were arrested, and no injuries were reported.

Student and parent resentment over recruitment on high school and college campuses has been growing in the past year. The military has fallen behind enlistment quotas nationally, and dozens of recruiters have been admonished for using improper, aggressive tactics.

Garfield High School's PTSA passed a resolution May 9 recommending that recruiters be barred from the school. When recruiters later returned to Garfield, they were met by protests from parent leaders.

Earlier this year at Seattle Central Community College, angry students surrounded two recruiters and harassed them until they fled the campus.

It's an issue playing out across the country that now finds itself in front of the nation's highest court. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the government can take federal funding from schools that restrict the military's access to students.

During one of the protests yesterday, several dozen demonstrators lined the sidewalk in front of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines recruiting offices near Northgate Mall.

Marine recruiters quickly dropped the window shades and kept the doors locked.

Next door, however, the Army recruiting station's front door was open. Four protesters entered and objected loudly to the military presence at their schools. Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Hicks first told the protesters to leave, then pushed them out the door.

Army spokesman Bill Pierce said later that Hicks was protecting both the recruiters and station property.

"People can come into the station to talk about the Army," he said, "but they can't break into the station with the intent to do damage."

Minutes after the first altercation, another protester attempted to get inside the office but was quickly forced out of the doorway by Hicks.

With the doors shut and a "closed" sign hanging (it was switched back to "open" minutes later), the protesters declared victory.

"Nobody is getting in here!" said the bullhorn-wielding Marlo Winter, a Seattle Central student who helped organize the protest. "That means nobody can be recruited while we're here!"

In the U District, about 40 protesters massed in front of military offices on Northeast 45th Street. Blasting bioterrorism research, genocide and military spending, speakers took turns haranguing the recruiters inside.

Across town in the Central Area, about 30 students from three high schools -- Garfield, Chief Sealth and Nova -- demonstrated outside a military recruiting station. (Editor's Note: The original version of this story mistakenly indicated all of the students came from one school.)

"It was awesome," said Duwan Tyson, a recent Garfield graduate and student at The Evergreen State College. "They closed the doors on us and retreated." P-I reporter Jake Ellison can be reached at 206-448-8346 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4.

Society & Culture

RIFT OVER RECRUITING AT PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS
By Dean Paton

** A Seattle high school bars military solicitation, touching off debate over Iraq war and free speech **

Christian Science Monitor
May 18, 2005

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0518/p02s01-ussc.html
or
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/05/18/iraq/main696054.shtml

[PHOTO CAPTION: ANY TAKERS? Army Staff Sgt. Christian Marsh watched a wave of students pass by at the Edmonds-Woodway High School in Edmonds, Wash. Recruiters are struggling to meet enlistment numbers.]

SEATTLE -- While most Parent Teacher Student Association meetings might center on finding funding for better math books or the best way to chaperon a school dance, a recent meeting here at Garfield High School grappled with something much larger -- the war in Iraq.

The school is perhaps one of the first in the nation to debate and vote against military recruiting on high school campuses -- a topic already simmering at the college level. In fact, the Supreme Court recently agreed to decide whether the federal government can withhold funds from colleges that bar military recruiters.

High schools are struggling with a similar issue as the No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools receiving federal funding must release the names of its students to recruiters. Some feel that's an invasion of privacy prompted by a war effort that has largely divided the American public. Others say barring recruiters is an infringement of free speech -- and a snub to the military, particularly in a time of war.

Garfield High School took a decisive step last week with a vote of 25 to 5 to adopt a resolution that says "public schools are not a place for military recruiters."

All this comes as recruiters struggle to meet enlistment goals.

Although PTA chapters are supposed to be "nonsectarian and nonpartisan, which means nonpolitical," according to Jenny Sopko, a spokeswoman for the national PTA in Chicago, Garfield's PTSA cochair maintains that its action is "wholly consistent with our mission."

"The mission of the PTA is to protect and defend kids," says Amy Hagopian, a mother of three whose son is a Garfield senior. "It's not just limited to education issues -- which explains why the PTA takes positions on kids' health, violence, and other serious issues."

Garfield, with 1,600 students, is one of Seattle's top high schools, routinely producing bumper crops of National Merit Scholars, plus internationally acclaimed student orchestras and jazz bands. It's also racially diverse, with African-American students making up 31 percent of its student population.

Like so many schools today, Garfield grapples with painful budget cuts, loss of teachers, and dwindling resources. The school's opposition to military recruitment seems, in part, a result of parents' growing realization that tax money spent for the Iraq war is money not spent on children's educations or other domestic needs.

"They're spending $4 billion a month in Iraq, but we have to cut our race relations class, which costs $12,500," Ms. Hagopian pointed out. "That's an important class for our kids."

During discussion at the PTSA's meeting last week, Ted Inkley argued against the resolution because he thought it dangerous to deny free speech to organizations simply because their philosophies or intentions disagreed with the PTSA.

Mr. Inkley, an attorney whose daughter is a senior, told the crowded library he could "easily" see a resolution by some other PTA that banned Planned Parenthood representatives from campus because of their views on contraception and abortion.

Steve Ludwig, whose son is a senior and whose daughter will enter as a freshman next fall, made a point shared by many in attendance: Garfield does not allow organizations that promote illegal activities to recruit students to perform those activities, nor does it allow organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation to recruit on campus.

"Planned Parenthood, as far as I know, does not advocate or perform illegal acts. The U.S. military does," Mr. Ludwig continued. The soft-spoken carpenter said he would not object if Army representatives came to Garfield to debate their ideas on torture or aggressive war. "What I object to is their coming here to recruit students to perform those acts," he said. "It's not about free speech."

Nationally, there's a growing sense that recruiters desperate to bolster falling enlistment numbers are misrepresenting sign-up agreements to entice recruits. In response to 480 allegations of improprieties by recruiters since Oct. 1, the Army announced it will suspend its recruiting for one day on May 20, so commanders can remind its 7,500 recruiters of proper conduct.

Douglas Smith, a U.S. Army spokesman, said the job of recruiters is not to make promises but to show applicants possibilities and career options.

"As for a recruiter making promises and not following through, the recruiter's not in any position to promise anything. We hope that all our recruiters are communicating honestly with our applicants," Mr. Smith said. But he added, "In the contract [between the new soldier and the Army] it says, 'Anything the recruiter may have promised me is moot.'"

Smith also pointed out the legality of military recruitment activity on campuses. "The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to let us have access to these students," he says.

Indeed, the resolution by Garfield's PTSA is more symbol than policy, for Seattle, like virtually all school districts, requires high schools to give recruiters access to students -- or risk losing federal funding under Section 9528 of the act. School districts also are required to notify parents and students that they may "opt out" by signing a letter preventing recruiters from getting their names.

In response to Garfield's resolution, Seattle's district issued a statement reinforcing its policy of allowing recruiters to work on high school campuses, but also said it would increase efforts next fall to make it easier for parents and students to opt out.

"Nothing in this resolution prevents students desirous of joining the military from doing so," said Sasha Riser-Kositsky, a Garfield sophomore from a written statement during last week's meeting. "Indeed, there is a recruiting center within a five-minute walking distance of Garfield."