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A High School Student Speaks Out — Standing Up to Military Recruiters

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Clara, a student at Foss High School in Tacoma, WA, sat down with Justice to explain her views on the military’s presence in her school.

Does the military have a big presence in your school? It has a big presence because of the JROTC. Every Tuesday, the kids walk around in uniform and are all over the school. The JROTC is everywhere. The recruiters come once a month and set up in the cafeteria and hand out free stuff.

The government argues that the military should be allowed in schools because it offers students job opportunities. What do you think of this? I think it’s a pretty pathetic argument. Really, the only job they offer is to join the military and go to war. But for teenagers, the job opportunities aren’t there. You are away from your family. It changes your life. There should be other job opportunities that they push other than the military.

What do you think about young people facing low-wage jobs, yet the government spends $500 billion on the war machine? The government doesn’t spend any money to provide decent jobs for kids, and they don’t spend any money for future generations. They don’t spend it on education or on improving the lives of young people. They spend it to attack other countries.

How would you compare the rights the military has and those given alternative points of view at Foss? Well, at Foss there are no alternative points of view. There’s the career center that just has stuff about working at McDonald’s or Jack in the Box or something. And there is a whole wall of military brochures.

Is there any information about how women are treated in the military? No, they just have the brochures the recruiters put out about all the good things about the military. They don’t mention anything that might not be perfect.

What are students doing about it at Foss? Currently, we are trying to set up a campaign. So far, it has pretty much been me going around trying to get people I know to join in, to try to get alternative points of view. And there’s a lot of kids interested at Foss, and there’s a lot of teachers too. So we are just trying to organize right now.

What have you been telling other students to get them interested? Basically, I tell them that we are fighting the war. We are trying to get the military recruiters out of the school. And that gets a lot of kids, just that. Because they already have thought about how they stand on these things. So I don’t really need to convince kids.

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