Today at Oakland High, war resister and former Navy sailor Pablo Paredes debated Army recruiter Sgt. Jose Delao about the role of military recruiters in high schools — and the benefits and risks of joining the service.
Some of the questions from the crowd:
– Why do you recruit us young people? “We’re going to die, but for what, you know?”
– Why is it that the military recruiters come to the low-income high schools?
– What are the benefits for veterans (Be specific, please)?
It was an intense hour — and, for the most part, civil. At one point during the question-and-answer session, though, two teachers with opposing viewpoints started shouting. One pointed out that no one was forcing students to join the volunteer service, and another accused one of the military recruiters of lying. Eventually, the chaos subsided and a few more students were able to ask questions.
Do you think it is appropriate for the military to recruit kids while they’re still in high school? Are recruiters merely giving them another option, as they say, or are they taking advantage of teenagers unsure of their future (and how to pay for college)?
photo by D. Ross Cameron, Tribune photographer