by Mikael Rudolph and Ann Galloway
The Minneapolis School Board last night voted unanimously to restrict military recruiters to school Career Centers, insisting that they had to apply in advance and sign in whenever they were on campus. The decision also included the stipulation that other career groups advocating "Peace" or with other perspectives on military careers would have equal access.
Last night was supposed to be for the vote only because there were two previous meetings that involved testimony. Unfortunately Recruiters in attendance had misunderstood that the board was voting to completely ban military recruiters from Minneapolis campuses. One of the three Recruiters that showed up came forward to give testimony of how he was upset that the school board was banning recruiters. The board stopped him and made clear that is not what is happening, explained the meaning of the resolution and how the process worked.
The board then re-opened the issue to discussion. Two veterans spoke out strongly against the measure but they were greatly outnumbered by the many students present as well as two members of Veterans for Peace all of whom spoke passionately in favor of the restrictions.
Six of the board members gave their thoughts on the resolution and spoke of how impressed they were with the organizing and words of the students. All seven members of the board voted in favor.
Here is the resolution as ratified:
Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education
February 26, 2008
RESOLUTION ON RECRUITER ACCESS TO STUDENTS WHEREAS, the U.S. Military expends approximately $1.4 billion annually (FY 2006) in recruiting efforts; and
WHEREAS, the military has access to student directory information unless the student's parent has chosen to opt out as mandated by Section 9528 of the "No Child Left Behind Act" (NCLB) which access is provided by the District under threat of loss of federal funding for schools; and
WHEREAS, to continue its core mission of providing a free and effective education for local youth, Minneapolis Special District No. 1 cannot sustain itself without adequate federal funds; and
WHEREAS, questions about the extent of access by military recruiters to students during the school day on school premises can be addressed through the standards in the District's visitors policy; and
WHEREAS, the Minneapolis School Board is charged with giving guidance as to policy implementation; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of Minneapolis Public School students to receive information about all post-secondary options available to them; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of Minneapolis Public Schools students to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints on controversial issues which may affect their education or welfare; and
WHEREAS, community based organizations may be valuable sources for information on military service;