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Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Some Against APS Recruitment Policy
By Hailey Heinz
Journal Staff Writer
Activists are still not satisfied with a policy recommended Tuesday that aims to bring fairness to recruitment rules on Albuquerque Public Schools campuses.
Military and college recruiters in schools became an explosive topic at public forums in the fall. Peace activists protesting the presence of recruiters, as well as junior ROTC programs, have been a presence at school board meetings and prompted the school board to take up the topic.
There has been no move to scale back or eliminate JROTC, and federal law requires that military recruiters be given access to public schools.
The policy, recommended Tuesday by a board committee, would help make recruitment rules more consistent at all schools. Under the new policy, recruiters would have to be outside the classroom and couldn't interfere with instruction. This applies to recruiters from colleges, the military, businesses and community groups.
The presence of recruiters also must be logged, to determine whether they are spending more time at certain schools than others. The logs will also track groups that requested access to schools and were denied.
One central complaint of peace activists remains unchanged. Several anti-war groups have requested access to campuses to provide counter-information to military recruitment and say they have been denied. They would still not be allowed on campus under the new policy, which would allow only groups that actively recruit for a job or service program, not those that simply advocate a point of view.
"I think we have to be very careful if a group comes in to bash another group," said board member David Robbins. "We need to not let them do that."
Mitzi Kraft, who speaks against recruitment and JROTC at nearly every board meeting, said she doesn't think the policy change will help.
"If you have recruiters, you need counter-recruiters," she said.