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Navy Secretary says 1,100 high schools ban military recruiters

Recruiting expo for local high schools (Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar/U.S. Air Force)
December 18, 2018

It is common for military recruiters to scour high schools across the U.S. in search of those who may be interested in serving the country, but more and more high schools are not allowing this tradition to continue.

This change is being blamed on a flourishing economy, Pentagon officials said, according to the Washington Examiner.

Some 1,100 high schools have placed a ban on military recruiters at their schools which has been a prime tool in recruiting high school graduates.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said, “There’s an excess of 1,100 schools in school districts that deny access to the uniformed members to recruit on their campuses. They’re all throughout the country; preponderance up in the Northeast and Northwest. Whatever help anyone could do in helping us get the message out would be greatly appreciated.”

The high schools are trying to protect students from recruiters instead of seeing them as a benefit in giving students an option to serve their country and embrace a worthwhile career.

All branches of the military were able to meet their recruiting goals in 2018 except the Army.

The Army came in at 6,500 under goal for the first time in 10 years, however, all branches did agree that it is getting harder to find young people that are interested in serving.

Adm. William Moran, vice chief of naval operations said, “Any time you have an unemployment rate below 4.1 percent, historically, trouble looms on the horizon for both recruiting and retention. It’s at about 3.8 percent, I think, now, so we are all expecting this market to get more difficult than easier.”

In addition to the issue of the economy, students lack interest in serving in the military, and the majority of those who do show interest wouldn’t make the grade.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said, “It’s getting harder. We used to make [our recruiting goal] before the third week of the month was out, now some places you’re making it the last day of the month. [It is] not just the propensity of young men and women — do they want to serve in the military — but the percentage that are qualified for us to even talk to them, and that number is right around, or slightly below, 30 percent.”

“The Navy values its relationship with the various educational institutions around the country to include those cited in the numbers you queried about. Because their decision to allow recruiters on campus is part of ongoing discussions, it would be inappropriate to provide a list of these schools,” Lt. Christina Sears, a Navy spokesperson at the Pentagon who replied when asked for a list of the schools that have banned recruiters.