SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education voted Tuesday to regulate military and college recruiting at district schools.
Board Member Katherine Nakumara cast the only vote against the policy, which establishes guidelines to promote what supporters call balanced recruiting.
Students, parents and administrators appeared at the board meeting and spoke in support of the policy. Several students from Mission Bay, Kearny and Lincoln high schools said they had been subject to aggressive recruiting practices by military recruiters.
"A big military trailer pulled up at our school, and they unloaded lots of games and an obstacle course," student Stephanie Balderas said. "They said if you wanted to play the awesome cool games, you needed to register.
"They asked for my personal information, took my photo and asked if I wanted info about Go Army. A week later I got some sort of advertisement about the benefits of joining the Army even though I said no."
The students said they saw more military recruitment than college recruitment on their campuses.
"It's inappropriate that recruiters are allowed on campus so freely, but the availability of information about higher education is minimal," a student from Lincoln High School said. "The lack of balanced recruitment gives some students the idea that the military is the only option."
According to the policy, recruiters would have to stay in assigned areas on campus, sign in at the main office and would not be able to approach students. Students would have to initiate contact.
The policy also restricts recruiters from requesting contact information from students. Recruiters would only be able to provide their own contact information, giving students the option to contact them outside of school.
According to de Beck, the purpose of the policy is to have all recruiters, whether from the military or from higher education, adhere to the same guidelines.
"The military, like anyone else, should be held to a set of rules," de Beck said. "The military of all people should understand rules."
Board Member Shelia Jackson, a Navy veteran, said she supports the military, but thinks the district needs balanced recruiting.
"I believe recruiters should have access to campus. Not complete access, but access," she said.
Under the proposed policy, confidential information collected through aptitude tests like the ASVAB aptitude test, which is given to students by military recruiters and school counselors to determine career interest, could not be used for recruiting purposes.
Nakamura said there are other types of recruitment the school district should be more concerned about, and cited statistics showing increases in prostitution and gangs to make her point.
De Beck interrupted Nakamura's presentation on prostitution and gangs and said, "I don't see what this has to do with the issue we're talking about.
De Beck's protest was met with cheers from the audience, but board President Richard Barrera allowed Nakamura to finish speaking.
Despite Nakamura's objections, the proposal passed.