Truth in Recruitment’s goals are to educate students, families, and school districts about alternatives to military careers; inform families of their children’s privacy rights; and advocate for policies regulating recruiter presence on campuses.
Truth in Recruitment’s Social Change Project is to enact policies that regulate military recruiting in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (SMJUHSD); Truth in Recruitment also seeks to ensure the existing recruiter policy in the Santa Barbara Unified School District that we helped implement remains enforced. With the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Santa Maria’s SMJUHSD recently agreed to allow Truth in Recruitment to table at career fairs and make classroom presentations. We wish to organize communities and build goodwill through our support of student social justice clubs and by increasing awareness of students’ and families’ rights to privacy and the realities of military careers. Our recent public Summit on Youth and the Military in Santa Maria supported our effort to increase parent, student, and community leadership and participation.
I am the daughter of field-working immigrants, a student at Santa Maria High, and an advocate for educational rights. Before knowing about Truth in Recruitment, I began to notice that there was a strong military presence at my school. Why is it that they’re always here, and yet we don’t get people presenting about careers or colleges or vocational schools? How is it that the school is subconsciously promoting an institution that stands for violence, war, and misogyny? I still don’t understand. I remember being a freshman at a meeting we had with the SMHS principal. I expressed my concerns but, I felt uncomfortable as my principal, an ex-military man, put me on the spot with questions about why I felt the way I did about military presence at our school. As if it was totally normal to have recruiters and presenters in our classrooms multiple times each week. Yes, I remember the way he promised to get us more resources to colleges and career days. But now as a junior I still see my peers being targeted through social media, classroom presentations, and an ever-present military-glorifying culture. Is this because we are people of color from low-income households? I want a college-going culture where we are encouraged to further our education no matter what our background is. I know that Truth in Recruitment will continue to push for a policy that regulates recruiters at our schools in Santa Maria. I will continue to be part of that fight …and hopefully one day, we will change the culture of our country.
- Jenny, Santa Maria High School Student