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Military recruiting in schools

By Katie Deska
News staff
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"Only three out of 10 (students) are qualified to join the army because of academics, meaning they fail the ASVAB or medical or (have) too many law violations," Czarnecki said. "You've got the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and everybody is competing for those three, not just the armed forces, but the colleges too. The Army is the largest branch of service. The Army and the National Guard put in more people than all the (other) services combined."

The method of reaching the student, said Czarnecki, depends on the prospective recruit. "It depends on the senior's dominant buying motive – what is that senior's reason for joining – to serve their country, for college money, for job security? By and large for Michigan it's college, the continuing education. What is their motivation? Why do they want to buy the Army?"

Although the provision in NCLB requires that schools make students and parents aware of the military recruitment presence and their right to opt out of having directory information shared, there is no national standard or guidelines of the methods by which schools should notify families, which leaves it up to the discretion of each school's administration to determine how to spread awareness.

Results from schools surveyed in Oakland County show a variety of methods of disseminating the information, and leaves unanswered the question of how successful their method is in reaching the parents and students.

The Waterford School District notifies parents "annually in the districtwide newsletter," said Rhonda Lessel, director of community relations. The Waterford district requests that, "parents or eligible students notify the superintendent in writing within two weeks of the notice." In 2013-2014, two students opted out of receiving military recruitment information; in 2014-2015, three students opted out; and in 2015-2016, five students opted out, according to Lessel.

Comparatively, Jessica Stilger, communication supervisor for the Berkley School District, said, "Parents are notified through the annual online paperless packet system that contains all the back-to-school paperwork for all students each year. They do have the option to opt out of military recruitment." The percentage of students opting out in Berkley Schools increased over the last three years. For 2013-2014, 32.7 percent opted out, followed by 38.3 in the 2014-2015 school year, and over half the students opted out for the most recent school year, at 51 percent, or 152 out of 298 students.

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