We hold an annual event for 300-400 juniors and seniors to look at opportunities for after graduating high school. This is a big “transition” event for our students who are getting special education services. Yet, even though they receive these services, most of them will earn a high school diploma and many will go on to college. Some are very interested in going into the military. We really would like military recruiters to be there but last year they wouldn’t come and I was told that they were told not to be there. So, this year I thought I could contact commanding officers and hopefully persuade them to allow the recruiters to attend.
When I called the Navy recruiter here in Greenville, SC, I had a terrible experience. When I requested the commanding officer’s name, the phone call was passed to Officer Dobbs. Officer Dobbs kept asking me how he could help me and his voice kept rising. I tried to tell him that all I wanted was the commanding officer’s name and then was going to ask how I could contact this person but he refused to tell me. I couldn’t understand what I did that caused him to yell at me. When I asked him if he would give me this person’s name, he loudly stated that he would not. When I hesitated and told him that I guess I could find this information from someone else, he said fine and hung up on me.
I really didn’t want a big fuss about this but now this really concerns me. As a citizen and a taxpayer I am shocked and appalled that I was treated this way. I didn’t know that asking this information was classified information and it concerns me that there isn’t any accountability or a chain of command for recruiters. What does a person do if there is a problem with a recruiter or the office? My husband was in the navy years ago and was always told to give the name of the commanding officer is asked and he was even shocked at how I was treated. I worry about recommending students to consider the military as an option if this is how an average citizen is treated.
What started out as a simple request (or maybe it just seemed like it was to me) has turned into an issue that really concerns me.
Since this has happened, I have emailed lots of people in the military when I could find an email address. I even went so far as to comment on the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff’s facebook page. I was given the contact info of an office in Raleigh, NC but when I called, I was told that most everyone was on the road traveling for the week so I will give it a try this week. I was also contacted by someone in Atlanta that actually gave me a name of someone in Raleigh to call which was helpful.
I was told by one person that due to homeland security issues that is why I was not told the commanding officer’s name. How in the world does asking for someone’s boss become a security issue? It kind of makes me feel like we live in a Nazi state instead of a democracy. If there is no chain of command that I can go through, then they are basically tell me that if I don’t like something, too bad. Yet, they are willing to take my tax money to pay for whatever they want. I can’t imagine someone walking into my classroom and stating that I can’t tell them the name of my principal, or superintendent of education because it would make the school unsafe!
The thing that worries me most is that this was just the Navy that I contacted. I am dreading the thought of still having to contact the Army, Air Force, Marines, and National Guard! Then part of me really resents the fact that I am dreading this because our military should be something that we are proud of. I should not have to be afraid of contacting them. What message is the military sending out?
In the future, I am going to try to get my whole request in before the officer I talk to feels threatened in any way. But I feel it is important to contact someone in command instead of just talking to the lowest man on the totem pole or I will end up with the same results as last year and not have any recruiters at our event. If you have any suggestions or names of people that I could call, please feel free to give me your suggestions.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'First Phasers'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/46042146@N00/1065156117 by: Randy Robertson