keeping the military out of our elementary schools - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-17-2010, 01:49 PM
 
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I'd feel icky about the presentation, too, and would have a very long conversation with my kids about what the military is actually all about. My dad went to West Point and has lots and lots of stories he could tell that would not make the military look so glamorous.

My major problem with this particular assembly would be that it seems a bit of a bait and switch. The group didn't come in to do military stuff and then talk about the military. They came in from a different angle--a musical presentation. Was the fact that they are in this music group one of the things that they talked about in their "military is so cool" speech afterward?

I'd be concerned about my kids having an early misrepresentation of what the military is. I wouldn't want them to be confused, thinking that because they came in and did a musical presentation, that music is primarily what the military does. I would certainly point out to my kids that if they are interested in music, there are lots of other places to get that, and the military would not be our family's choice.
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Old 04-17-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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What about career day at school where the kids get to bring in their parents and they talk about their jobs - there may be cops, bank executives, lawyers, meat packers etc... most everyone could find something offensive in the jobs others do.
agreed. What about a child's parent who is a minister for a religion that isn't yours? Should they be banned?

I see military careers as so diverse that the idea of another career balancing it doesn't make sense to me.

Who balances out a flight nurse? Who balances out a business jet pilot? (the business jets that our elected officials fly around on are operated by the air force). Who balances out the accountant who set up secure data lines for the president and other high governement officials when they travel?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-17-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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agreed. What about a child's parent who is a minister for a religion that isn't yours? Should they be banned?

I see military careers as so diverse that the idea of another career balancing it doesn't make sense to me.

Who balances out a flight nurse? Who balances out a business jet pilot? (the business jets that our elected officials fly around on are operated by the air force). Who balances out the accountant who set up secure data lines for the president and other high governement officials when they travel?
Good point and what about people who work for companies that have military contracts? Would you ban an engineer from talking because he happens to work for an innovative robotics company that makes toys *and* bomb hunting robots for the DOD (I use this example because I have a friend who does this).

What about a good friend of mine who happens to be the only woman in an aviation mechanic unit? I would think she would have a lot of interesting things to say about working in a male dominated field and breaking gender stereotypes.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:13 AM
 
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And the bigger picture - do you plan to help your child choose their career based on what you think is appropriate? Are you going to sit them down and say " here are career choices" and tie them down so they can't join the military? Honestly, unless you're going to hold their hand and steer them through life, you need to get used to them seeing other things, hearing other POV and filing information away for themselves now.

I don't like the military, either, and will be refusing any all calls to my home for my kids when they are in high school. We will talk frankly about what it means to be in the military and why I am opposed to it (grew up military so I do have background). We'll use it for a learning tool at that time. If it comes up before then, which it probably will as we have an Army post and an AF base here, we'll just say "that's interesting" and hear what so and so had to say about it.

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Old 04-18-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Just wanted to point out that I do think military targets low-income/minority and a lot of it has to do with the NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard) attitude among a lot of middle class white communities who have the resources and clout to keep recruiters out. I'm not even convinced its political or has anything to do with the war but a question of class (ie. *MY* kid is too good for service, they're going to go to college and get rich). Not saying that its an attitude here, but its really common.

As a white member of the middle class, I find this sentiment most insulting. I personally know many (of various races and socio-economic groups) who opted to serve in the military. They did so willingly because they believed in service to their country and fellow man and in safeguarding our freedoms. They were not coerced or duped into military service in any way. People who support our military come in all colors and from all classes.

I also do not think there is anything remotely wrong in opting for college or getting rich for that matter.
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Old 04-18-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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I think the military has no place in schools except on career day (and yes, they'd better have someone from Mercy Corps and Doctors Without Borders right along there with them). But it sounds like your principal is on board and has addressed the situation.

Here's what I want to talk about:

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Just wanted to point out that I do think military targets low-income/minority and a lot of it has to do with the NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard) attitude among a lot of middle class white communities who have the resources and clout to keep recruiters out. I'm not even convinced its political or has anything to do with the war but a question of class (ie. *MY* kid is too good for service, they're going to go to college and get rich).
I agree that the military targets low income/minority kids. And I live in a middle-class, mostly white, pretty crunchy community whose members would rise up in outrage if this happened in our local elementary school.

But not because we think our kids are "too good" for service. I don't want my kid to go to college to "get rich" but to have options for a career and get a good, liberal arts education. I want to keep my sons out of the military because I don't want them to be part of an organization designed to kill people and wreck stuff. Either as soldiers or the people behind the scenes who support the soldiers. Sorry to be so blunt, but that's the way I see it.
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Old 04-18-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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I personally know many (of various races and socio-economic groups) who opted to serve in the military. They did so willingly because they believed in service to their country and fellow man and in safeguarding our freedoms. They were not coerced or duped into military service in any way. People who support our military come in all colors and from all classes.
Because of where we live, many of the military people we know are officers. They are college graduates, some from the academy.

The stereotype of "poor minority who couldn't get any other job" doesn't hold here at all.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-18-2010, 05:29 PM
 
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Because of where we live, many of the military people we know are officers. They are college graduates, some from the academy.

The stereotype of "poor minority who couldn't get any other job" doesn't hold here at all.
Exactly! In fact, I read an article several months ago about the ranking of colleges and West Point was rated #1. A diploma from W.P. was said to be regarded as highly as that of an Ivy League university. The salaries paid to the officers once graduated was nothing to sneeze at either. So saying that parents who wish successful and/or lucrative careers for their children equate that to saying no to the military obviously don't undestand that a military career can be rewarding, lucrative, and held in high esteem.

The son of a very good friend of mine is finishing his first year at W.P. He is a kid from a white, upper income family and he could have had his pick of any university he wanted. His parents couldn't be prouder that he chose the military. In my experience, I just haven't seen the white, middle class and upper class communities discouraging kids from military service.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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Exactly! In fact, I read an article several months ago about the ranking of colleges and West Point was rated #1. A diploma from W.P. was said to be regarded as highly as that of an Ivy League university. The salaries paid to the officers once graduated was nothing to sneeze at either. So saying that parents who wish successful and/or lucrative careers for their children equate that to saying no to the military obviously don't undestand that a military career can be rewarding, lucrative, and held in high esteem.

The son of a very good friend of mine is finishing his first year at W.P. He is a kid from a white, upper income family and he could have had his pick of any university he wanted. His parents couldn't be prouder that he chose the military. In my experience, I just haven't seen the white, middle class and upper class communities discouraging kids from military service.

When it comes to getting into college they focus on your high school grades, an essay, and some extra curriculars...To get into somewhere like West Point or the Air Force Academy it's SO much more intense. Hell, even when you get into the military to get an exclusive top secret position they've been known to interview your kindergarten teachers...you can't have any debts (neither can your dependents)...it's crazy competitive

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Old 04-18-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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As a white member of the middle class, I find this sentiment most insulting. I personally know many (of various races and socio-economic groups) who opted to serve in the military. They did so willingly because they believed in service to their country and fellow man and in safeguarding our freedoms. They were not coerced or duped into military service in any way. People who support our military come in all colors and from all classes.
Ummm... of course I agree with this. My husband is career military and one of those upper middle class white kids who opted to enlist despite having a ton of other options. Maybe his experience is unique but the backlash from friends and relatives was pretty severe (he joined well before 9/11). Lots of people thinking it was just a crazy, stupid thing to do when he had so many other options.

Have you read Frank Schaffer's book _Keeping Faith_? His son enlisted in the Marines after attending an elite prep school and the school board and community were freaked out and horrified and actually had meetings about "what went wrong" and "how can we stop this from happening again!" This may not be true in your community, but I don't think its extremely rare.

My point is that I think people need to give recruiters a break and stop describing them as "predatory" when they concentrate their efforts communities that are more military friendly.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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Hell, even when you get into the military to get an exclusive top secret position they've been known to interview your kindergarten teachers...you can't have any debts (neither can your dependents)...it's crazy competitive
That's for any top secret position. I worked at the US Embassy in Moscow in the 90's and the FBI completely freaked out my tiny hometown when I was going through my security clearance. They thought I was on the most wanted list. It's not just military, it's civilian, too.

OP - I know where you are coming from and I agree with you. My dad is career military, I have several soldiers in my family. You will never convince any military person that it's indoctrination at an early age with these programs.
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:27 PM
 
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Any assembly or presentation will probably have some aspect or viewpoint that someone will find offensive. Parents need to use those occasions to have meaningful dialogue with their children about their beliefs, not to force public schools to yield to individual ideology.

NCLB places extremely heavy burdens on teachers and administrators, add to that the many parents who abdicate child-rearing to schools, plus actually teaching real-life and critical thinking skills. Implementing some sort of mandatory notice about any and all assemblies and allowing parents to opt their children out would be a logistical nightmare. If it becomes an issue, administrators may simply disallow any future assemblies. What a shame that would be, as they are a valuable and horizon-broadening part of school.

I am a ps teacher and know that the path of least resistance is often the path admin takes, simply because they don't have the time or resources to accomodate yet another set of parent requests--or to debate the issue everytime there is an assembly. We have one parent making a big issue about snacks/birthday treats in classes, wanting only veggies, chesse, healthy choices offered during school. Other parents have objected to admin's inquiries about going to exclusively healthy snacks. Guess what? We will probably have a no snack policy for next year. My point in this long story OP, is to be careful you don't end up getting that baby tossed with the bath water.

--Karen, mom to a super girl (and a sweet cat), wife of a great husband, proud public school teacher. Fortunate to have a wonderful life!
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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I really don't understand why it is so terrible for our children to be exposed to people in the military and the idea that it IS a career option.
Not much different than having the fire department come out and talk to the kids about being a fireman. Ultimately kids grow up and make their own choices about what to do with their lives and I doubt a 30 min. presentation in Kindergarten or 1st grade is going to affect what choice they make 12 years down the road.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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OP~ What if your child later in life decided they wanted to join the military ? Would you keep them from joining?

If you would that is sad that you would force your child to find a job they didn't want to do all because of your evident dislike for the military.


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Old 04-19-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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I want to keep my sons out of the military because I don't want them to be part of an organization designed to kill people and wreck stuff. Either as soldiers or the people behind the scenes who support the soldiers. Sorry to be so blunt, but that's the way I see it.
To say that our soldiers only go around "killing people and wrecking stuff" is a ridiculous statement. What about the soldiers who are deployed to countries where there are natural disasters? What about the soldiers who protect the weak and those who cannot protect themselves? What about the soldiers who keep our country free so you can make ignorant statements like that? THAT is the way I see it.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:03 PM
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One of the many reasons we homeschool.
This sort of holier-than-thou comment is really not helpful at all.

Honestly....we homeschool too. We have for more than ten years, and we started as a MILITARY family.

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I want to keep my sons out of the military because I don't want them to be part of an organization designed to kill people and wreck stuff <snip> Sorry to be so blunt....
Sorry to be so blunt, but I'll bet the survivors at Auschwitz were awfully glad to see Russian troops come in. Also, do you think that maybe the military of hostile nations might come over here and kill people and wreck stuff without our own strong military?

Yes, the military is used for violence, but it's not necessarily offensive or aggressive. I understand the desire for peace, but also realize the need for being able to defend oneself.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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To say that our soldiers only go around "killing people and wrecking stuff" is a ridiculous statement. What about the soldiers who are deployed to countries where there are natural disasters? What about the soldiers who protect the weak and those who cannot protect themselves? What about the soldiers who keep our country free so you can make ignorant statements like that? THAT is the way I see it.
It was a former US Marine who described the military like that to me. His exact words were, "The entire purpose of the military is to wreck sh!t and kill people and to train soldiers not to question doing it."

Yes, we had a reason to be in WW2. No arguments there. There are times when war is justified. But Korea, Vietnam, Panama, the Gulf wars, and more recently, Iraq, Afghanistan...the US didn't fight those wars to keep our country free. Destabilizing nations and killing tens of thousands of civilians has zero to do with my freedom of speech and everything to do with furthering our nation's strategic interests.

Sure, the military undertakes a humanitarian mission now and then. But that's not its primary purpose. That isn't what soldiers are trained to do. And if someone who has been through that training and served in the Marines describes it in those terms, I'm not arguing.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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It was a former US Marine who described the military like that to me. His exact words were, "The entire purpose of the military is to wreck sh!t and kill people and to train soldiers not to question doing it."
.
Part of that is because the Marines are trained to think that way. (My DH's best friend and my brother are Marines...part of their training when they're learning hand to hand combat is to punch and yell "kill")

However, my DH is Air Force and it's totally different.

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Old 04-19-2010, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to try to quickly address some of the questions/statements that have come up in this thread:
This has been a great opportunity for my partner and me to talk to our kids about some of things that our family values. Some of you have stated that I ought to be treating this as a family learning opportunity, not as a time for activism. I think that it can be both. One does not preclude the other.

Others have asked if I think that I can control everything that my kids are exposed to, if I think that one 30 min presentation will brainwash them for life and override everything that we talk about at home, and if I think that I will be able to control all of their life choices. Of course not- and I think that this line of questioning is both reductive and borderline incendiary. I can't address that line of questioning without debating the nature of the military- something that I made clear in my original post that I am not interested in doing here.

My feelings on promoting military stuff in schools are really similar to my feelings on any kind of advertisements to kids in schools. In both instances, I think that something is being sold to impressionable minds. Promoting a corporate product or logo in our school would also be an issue for me. Do I think that a 30 second ad will shape my child's consumer habits for life? Probably not, but I most definitely want her education to be free of this kind of influence.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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OP, I agree with you completely. I'd like to see the military kept out of schools, period, all the way up. Whether they are there playing music at elementary assemblies, or showing middle schoolers how cool their helicopters are, they are doing long-term recruiting. It's why they are there.


But realistically, it's not going to happen. The schools love this crap. It makes my husband, who is a public high school teacher, insane.

I'll do just about anything to keep my kids out of the military. So, every time we find out they will be in the schools, we have a long talk with them about it. They both have pretty good BS detectors, so I think we'll be OK.
Except my dh is a chef.

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Old 04-19-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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OP~ What if your child later in life decided they wanted to join the military ? Would you keep them from joining?

If you would that is sad that you would force your child to find a job they didn't want to do all because of your evident dislike for the military.

Not the OP, but I am working and will continue to work hard to make sure that my kids don't join the military. Obviously once they are adults, I can't keep them from joining. But I can let them know my opinion about it and I would never be "supportive" of it, whatever that means.

There are plenty of different types of careers, and if they don't join the military, it doesn't mean they will be wanting for work.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:23 PM
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It was a former US Marine who described the military like that to me. His exact words were, "The entire purpose of the military is to wreck sh!t and kill people and to train soldiers not to question doing it."
Well, although Marines do not like to hear it or be reminded of it....they fall under the Department of the Navy and are basically the ground troops for the Navy. So yes, their purpose is to wreck stuff and kill people. They are fighting forces. However, when the military is utilized properly by a competent Commander in Chief, the ends are supposed to justify the means.

Yes, soldiers are trained to fight. However, the military is far more than just soldiers. I was a Hospital Corpsman, so I was not trained to fight.

And yes, recent wars are sketchy in nature. That doesn't mean we shouldn't keep a strong, well-trained military for those times when war IS necessary.

Your Marine acquaintance sounds like one of those kids who thought signing up meant nothing more than a steady paycheck and wearing a cool uniform, and then got angry when he was actually made to do the job he signed up for.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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Not the OP, but I am working and will continue to work hard to make sure that my kids don't join the military. Obviously once they are adults, I can't keep them from joining. But I can let them know my opinion about it and I would never be "supportive" of it, whatever that means.

There are plenty of different types of careers, and if they don't join the military, it doesn't mean they will be wanting for work.
This is my position, too. People always ask, "But what if your kids decide to join the military?" Yes, that might happen. I cannot physically prevent my grown children from doing what they want, career-wise. But while I'm raising them, I can work hard to make sure they won't seriously consider the military as an option as adults.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Your Marine acquaintance sounds like one of those kids who thought signing up meant nothing more than a steady paycheck and wearing a cool uniform, and then got angry when he was actually made to do the job he signed up for.
Perhaps he does sound that way. But in fact, he was a patriotic young man who was disillusioned and deeply sickened by the things he was ordered to do, for reasons he could not justify.

I agree that we need a trained army for the times when war is necessary. But I won't call what our army is currently doing and has done in the past several wars "necessary."
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:44 PM
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I agree that we need a trained army for the times when war is necessary. But I won't call what our army is currently doing and has done in the past several wars "necessary."
Neither will I. But the problem is generally not the military. The problem is the government officials who give the orders.

If you don't want your kids to possibly die for causes you don't find worthy, then it's fine to say that. But the armed services themselves are not evil entities; they're generally as efficient or corrupt as their politicians tell them to be.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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Has anyone considered that the military aren't the only professions that kill people? Granted, when it's a police officer it's usually self defense...but they too handle firearms on a regular basis. (I know a lot of MDC mamas are against firearms in general...)

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Old 04-19-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Has anyone considered that the military aren't the only professions that kill people? Granted, when it's a police officer it's usually self defense...but they too handle firearms on a regular basis. (I know a lot of MDC mamas are against firearms in general...)
I wouldn't be OK with my children doing anything requiring guns. But my aversion to them joining the military goes beyond that.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:54 PM
 
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I wouldn't be OK with my children doing anything requiring guns. But my aversion to them joining the military goes beyond that.
That's sort of my point. A lot of moms have said, "I wouldn't be okay with the military coming on career day." or "They'd better have a Peace Whatever (I can't find the exact term) to balance it out." What about a police officer? Or a taxidermist? Or someone that works in a slaughterhouse? Do we ban those parents as well because they work in violent professions?

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Old 04-19-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
That's sort of my point. A lot of moms have said, "I wouldn't be okay with the military coming on career day." or "They'd better have a Peace Whatever (I can't find the exact term) to balance it out." What about a police officer? Or a taxidermist? Or someone that works in a slaughterhouse? Do we ban those parents as well because they work in violent professions?
Well, we opt our kids out of the DARE program, and we do work to try to get it out of the schools.

I wouldn't have a problem with a cop or a member of the military (or a taxidermist for that matter) coming once to a career day. At a career day, the person's reason for attending is pretty clear, although I do think the military is more predatory than are your average career day participants. Your typical taxidermist or dermatologist doesn't have much of a vested interest in whether or not a high school kid wants to follow in their footsteps. The same is not true of a military recruiter.

What I object to is the stealth recruiting that starts in elementary school. The military comes in with carefully crafted programs designed to get the kids attracted. I don't want cops in the schools either, because their motives aren't just informational, either. I don't care if the dentist comes in. She's giving a talk about the importance of flossing, not trying to make kids think dentists are cool.

The military is not like other professions. In other professions you can leave pretty easily at any time. "I quit" and walk out the door. Other professions don't tell you where you will live, how you may or may not express yourself, have their own judicial system, etc. It is far more all consuming and a whole lot more dangerous than most jobs.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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Or someone that works in a slaughterhouse?
We're vegetarians, so a slaughter house worker would bother me more than most military personnel.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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