Why Say No to Military Service?
Students out of high school may consider military service for a number of reasons. For some, it’s a path towards college and a future job. For others, it’s about serving your country. The military promises money for college and job training. Before you sign up, though, it’s good to have a full understanding of what you’re getting into.
What Military Recruiters Don’t Tell You
Military branches spend a lot of money and time recruiting young people into the military. Promotions and pay increases are often promised to soldiers that are able to fill quotas to recruit new members. But what are you really signing up for?
The Ya-Ya Network’s Truth About Enlisting and NNOMY’s Facts About Recruitment both provide information about military recruitment. They reveal promises not kept and some truths that aren’t told when you’re enlisting.
The fact is, military life is hard on a person. Sexual assault, suicide, and PTSD have all been issues that have impacted soldiers and veterans at higher rates. The unemployment rate of recent veterans (having served since September 2001) was 5.8 percent in 2015. (Overall unemployment in 2015 went from 5.7 to 5.0 percent.) Veterans are also at higher risk of facing homelessness, and make up 8.6 percent of the overall homeless population.
Know Your Rights
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from recruiters is to know your rights. Although schools may provide student contact information to military recruiters, your parent or guardian can opt you out. It is also not required that students take military-sponsored tests such as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Test (ASVAB). Learn more about your rights as a student (in regards to military recruitment and beyond) by checking out the links below.
- ACLU of Pennsylvania Students’ Rights Handbook (available in Spanish and English)
- ACLU of Pennsylvania Student and Youth Rights
- My School Rights from the ACLU of California
What Are Your Alternatives?
The military is often seen as a way to pay for college and a jobs program, to help prepare you for the real world. But there are other avenues that you can take to either help pay for school, get ready for a career, or serve your country.
- Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
- You Can Go to College
- Scholarship Search
- Free ACT/SAT Test Prep
- Resources from Ya-Ya
- Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School
- Carbon Career and Technical Institute
- Monroe Career and Technical Institute
- PA Career Link and PA Career Link Lehigh Valley
- Resources from Ya-Ya
- AFSC: Humanize Not Militarize program
- AFSC: It’s My Life: A Guide to Alternatives After High School
- NNOMY: National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth
- Project YANO
- War Resisters League: Counter Recruitment
- Ya-Ya Network
- Contact LEPOCO to find out how you can engage in counter recruitment at your school