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You see them everywhere dressed up head to toe in camouflage and shiny boots, with the image of a super hero. With the recent conflicts in the Middle East, parents across America have protested the military being inside of our children’s schools auctioning off a better life. Let’s face it, who can give a better life to you than your mother? In 2002 the government made a flagship program designed to help underprivileged kids called the “No Child Left Behind Act”. “Since 2002 the “No Child Left Behind Act” has meant that US schools which receive government money must allow the military in to talk to students” (Act of Congress).
So this poses a huge problem for the parents that are trying to fight to get the military out of the schools and to put a ban on recruiting from within the confines. The military shouldn’t be able to recruit in high schools for many reasons. The most important reasons why the military shouldn’t recruit inside of high schools is because the mind of a high school student isn’t developed enough to make the right decisions to join; the military gives false hope to kids of financial freedom, and the possibility of death isn’t realistically depicted by the recruiters to the high school students.
Why are we recruiting in high schools instead of on college campuses? There could be a lot of reasons behind it, but first and foremost is that seventeen year olds aren’t ready to join. The mind of a seventeen year old isn’t fully developed until their in their twenties. So the judgment of a right and a wrong decision isn’t mindfully thought through. Yes, a seventeen year old only needs a high school diploma and parental consent but, how can they think they are ready for war when they can’t even drink alcohol or vote for their commander and chief?
In high schools there are cliques and like any kid they want to be in these so called cliques. Robert Ayers discusses in his book how kids are looking for a clique or group to belong to, “High school kids are at an age when being a member of an identifiable group with a grand mission and a shared spirit — and never underestimate a distinctive uniform — is of exaggerated importance, something gang recruiters in big cities also note with interest and exploit with skill” (William Ayers).
Ayers is depicting to us how easy it is to manipulate, and convince a young mind, seventeen years old, just wants to be part of a group with an image no matter what group it is. All someone has to do is depict an image of greatness and the young people are sold. The fact and bottom line is that our kids look up to a glorified image that the military and their commercials depict from a young age and they shouldn’t be capitalized on nor taken advantage of due to this overwhelming lopsided image.
The military is currently under quota of manpower that they need to run a successful defense, so turning to seventeen year olds without the knowledge of military recruiting tactics is the logical and more efficient way to get people to join our depleted military. But this is not a reason to prey on sixteen and seventeen year olds who aren’t even old enough to vote nor drive, but they can make life and death decisions to join the military. But having the undeveloped brain, like we all went through, as they do they are not old enough to cypher through the presentations that the recruiter gives in order to make a valid and rational decision.
Why do you see more recruiters in poverty stricken areas contrast to those in areas of good or well financial being? This is because the military is unethically targeting the vulnerable kids in our school system. Recruiters unethically target low income kids while promising them financial aid for school after these students serve in the military. Some of the students are promised is school fully paid for via the “Post 9/11 bill” and the “GI Bill”. But if you go www. va. gov website you will see the underlying criteria to actually get 100 percent free tuition.
The Veteran Affairs website referenced these criteria’s; Active duty status, months and years served, months retired and a plethora of underlying circumstances. Getting high school students seem to be the plan for high school students, “The U. S. military’s practice of targeting low-income youth and students of color for recruitment, in combination with exaggerated promises of financial rewards for enlistment, undermines the voluntariness of their enlistment” (Soldiers of Misfortune). So why does the military seem to recruit people of color?
Well according to www. census. gov the website tells us a lot about Caucasian children eighteen and under below the poverty line was seventeen percent and the children of the minority races were thirty five percent and higher. So this is actually the ideal place for a recruiter to so called “fill their quota”. Going back to the argument of recruiters promising false financing of school, this could be an advantage for the recruiters. Promising people who don’t have anything something is unethical and misleading.
This is mostly unethical because the recruiters that are usually E-4 to E-6 have no pull to get you in different schooling programs nor give you the position that you could want, in terms of career and financing. “Many possible recruits are promised that they will receive tens of thousands of dollars in education when, in actuality, 57 percent of veterans who have applied for Government Issue (GI) benefits have not received any financial aid, according to the non-profit organization Finding Alternatives to Military Enlistment” (FAME).
Promising financial benefits to kids that less than the majority of the military veterans receive is morally and ethically wrong. Also, the recruiters don’t tell you that in some circumstance you can’t attend school while in an “Active Duty Status”. Reason being is that you could get deployed and be called off to duty at any time and then the government would have to reimburse the institution for the incomplete credits. The recruiters also don’t tell recruits that if you are a reservist you are not eligible for the GI Bill, being in the reserve status it will be impossible to accumulate four years’ worth of active duty.
The military also made it so that this could never be reached, it’s like a safe guard they have in place. The U. S. government also targets disadvantaged communities and areas. The philosophy of recruiters seem to be “ The more in poverty a student is, the more likely they will look for a way out and join the ranks”. When the recruiters target these areas their showing that the more fortunate kids lives are more valuable and worth sparing more than others. It just isn’t right to exploit children from these backgrounds and hold their lives to a lesser status than other backgrounds.
Why isn’t war realistically depicted to recruits before they join? Because, it’s nothing like what you see on the video games like “Call of Duty” or movies like “The Expendables or The ‘A’ Team”, when people shoot a plethora of bullets at you someone or something gets hit. “War is catastrophic for human beings, and, indeed, for the continuation of life on Earth.
With over 120 military bases around the globe and the second largest military force ever assembled, the U. S. government is engaged in a constant state of war, and American society is necessarily distorted and disfigured around the aims of war” (William Ayers). A good statistic that should be shared while a recruit is debating whether or not to join the military is, “During the last decade of that spectacular century, two million children were killed, 20 million displaced, six million disabled” (William Ayers).
Now this is a statistic that should get shared with recruits along with the good statistics that are put in there to glorify military service.
Another good fact that recruits probably don’t know about “108 million people were slaughtered in wars during the 20th century” (William Ayers). Now the recruiters should tell the recruits to put this into perspective. 108 million people like you and me were killed within 100 years due to war and military conflict. The kids in high school need to understand that those were kids their age and younger, on some continents that were getting killed over things not fully understood.
Then when your contract is up and you are honorably discharged from your branch of service people are still left with images of war and relive it every day. “Vets suffer long-term health consequences including greater risk of depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, sleep disorders, and more. About one-third of Vietnam vets suffered full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 22% suffered partial post-traumatic stress disorder. This is the nature of the beast. Anyone who’s been there knows” (William Ayers).
If kids the age of 18 and lower are allowed to see and experience these things, then when their brains are fully developed they will be brain washed and war could be instilled in them with no turning back. This could also be that kid’s brains are not fully developed so they don’t have a clear concept of death. Recruiting in the high schools is ethically wrong due to the lack of the recruits’ brain development to cypher through and make a decision based on facts instead of the image the recruiters portray of the military.
Also, the recruiters promise tens of thousands of dollars to these kids when that is a very farfetched truth. The recruiters need to tell them what you actually have to do to earn and qualify for that money so it can actually be yours’. Military recruiters also don’t depict a clear picture of war and all that is lost during it. People’s sanity, lives and total way of living are altered forever. Recruiting in high schools should be closely monitored in schools if not done away with all together. Kids eighteen and younger just don’t have a grasp on what’s reality and what’s fabricated.
Works Cited Ayers, William. “Hearts and Minds: Military Recruitment and the High School Battlefield. ” Www. democraticdialogue. com. N. p. , 07 Apr. 2006. Web. Cave, Damien. “Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents. ” Editorial. New York Times [New York] 3 June 2005: B6. Www. newyorktimes. com. Web. “Census Bureau Homepage. ” Census Bureau Homepage. N. p. , n. d. Web. 02 Nov. 2012. <http://www. census. gov/>. “FAME Time Series. ” FAME Time Series. N. p. , n. d. Web. 02 Nov. 2012. <http://www. fame. com/>. Www. gibill. va. gov. N. p. , n. d. Web.