SAN FRANCISCO – Anti-war activists submitted a ballot measure Monday that would put the city on record as opposing the presence of military recruiters in public high schools and colleges.
The nonbinding "College Not Combat" resolution acknowledges that a ban would put schools at risk of losing federal funding.
If the measure qualifies for the November ballot and is approved by voters, it would encourage city officials and university administrators to exclude recruiters — even if it means forsaking government dollars — and to create scholarships and training to reduce the military's appeal to youth.
"We do not see George Bush's daughters signing up," said Ragina Johnson, a member of the International Socialist Organization (search). "It is poor and working class people who need a job and education at the same time billions are being spent on this war."
The San Francisco Unified School District (search) had banned military recruiters from its high schools for a decade but was forced to abandon the ban after Congress approved the No Child Left Behind (search) law in 2001.
The district shifted instead to educating parents on how they can request in writing not to have their child's name or address released to any recruiters.
Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, rejected the notion that poor and working class Americans are targeted by military recruiters and comprise a disproportionate share of the war's casualties.
"Like other large, major corporations we want the best and the brightest that our country's schools have to offer. That's who we are recruiting," Krenke said. "That's why we want equal access to student directory information and college and high school campuses, so we can let these students know what we have to offer in terms of benefits and education."
The initiative must be certified by the Department of Elections within 30 days. Organizers submitted 15,000 signatures on Monday; 10,400 signatures must be certified for the measure to qualify for the ballot.