Recruiters — military, employment and education — visiting students in the San Mateo Union High School District may be limited to one visit per month, per school site as the school board takes a closer look at on-campus recruiting.
The proposal comes after a local peace group requested the school board limit the number of visits military recruiters can make to campuses to three a year — similar to the number of visits made by college and professional recruiters annually — in January. At the time, the school board didn’t have information on the actual number of visits made by any recruiter. Limits would be imposed on all recruiters with added regulations limiting the actions and locations of the recruiters.
"I think it’s a good compromise,” said Trustee Marcia Cohn-Lyle. "I want to stress, the [recruiting] has always been monitored and continues to be monitored.”
While the Cohn-Lyle finds it to be a nice compromise and Mike Caggiano, president of Peace Action of San Mateo County, is happy to see some of the issues being addressed, U.S. Army Major Jonathan Mayhew thinks it’s unnecessary.
Mayhew, company commander for the U.S. Army Recruiting Company, said the limit is a little less than how often the recruiters currently visit the schools. Since it will have little effect on the recruiting habits, Mayhew finds the resolution unnecessary.
"I think we can all agree that any outside force shouldn’t do anything to interrupt the learning process,” he said. "Students are learning and preparing themselves for the future. But, we don’t talk to anybody who doesn’t want to talk to us.”
Mayhew added the recruiters are giving students one opportunity after high school that could build on the skills they are already learning.
Caggiano recognizes the school board isn’t giving the group exactly what it asked for. He’s happy, however, to see some sort of structure and limitations when it comes to recruiting.
Peace Action of San Mateo County asked the board to limit military recruiters to no more than three visits per year for each service branch at each high school campus during the year. Under the "No Child Left Behind Act,” military recruiters must be given equal access on high school campuses. The information gathered by the district showed the number of visits allowed by recruiters was different at each campus.
Military recruiters visited campuses one to two times per month at the various sites, and only five times per year at Capuchino. At Peninsula High recruiters can only come to campus by appointment. Colleges visited the campuses one to 30 times per year. The number of visits made by employers was not tracked. All recruiters checked in with the career centers when on campus. Military recruiters also check in at the front office. Recruiters are not allowed to roam the campus. Military recruiters stay in the career center at Burlingame and Capuchino high schools. At the other campuses, military recruiters are allowed to set up tables during lunch.
Between 2002 through 2006, 95 students were recruited into the Army, Navy, National Guard, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army National Guard or National Army of Pakistan, according to records kept by the schools. Numbers were not included from Mills and San Mateo high schools, since the schools do not keep records.
The district meets 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8 at the San Mateo Adult Resource and Technology Center, 789 E. Poplar Ave., San Mateo.
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