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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

New rules proposed for campus recruiters

Seattle Times staff reporter

Seattle Public Schools has unveiled proposed rules for campus recruiters, following protests against military recruiters earlier this year that put local schools under a national media spotlight.

Holly Ferguson, assistant general counsel for the district, said the idea is to more clearly define a hodgepodge of existing rules and practices for all recruiters — military, employment and college — and to ensure that schools clearly explain restrictions to recruiters.

She added that new teeth would come with the rules: If approved, they would allow schools to ban for up to one semester those recruiters who violate the policies.

The School Board is scheduled to discuss the proposal at its meeting at 6 p.m. tomorrow and vote next month.

The proposed rules mandate that:

• Recruiters be confined to designated areas on campus.

• All military recruiters wear uniforms.

• No private appointments be held between recruiters and students on campus, and no private appointments be held when a student is due in class.

• Schools post recruiting rules and upcoming visits on campus throughout the year.

• Organizations advocating alternative careers to the military be allowed on campus at the same time and in the same location as military recruiters.

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• Recruiters first receive written permission to be on campus from the principal or a principal's designee. Recruiters must sign in and out of the school office at each visit and leave clear contact details on any written information left behind.

A provision in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to give military recruiters the same campus access offered to other recruiters, or risk losing federal funding.

The issue of military recruiting came into sharp focus in May when Garfield High School's PTSA adopted a symbolic resolution to ban military recruiters from campus.

Students from around Seattle also protested outside military recruiting stations.

Amy Hagopian, who as co-chairwoman of Garfield's PTSA voted in favor of the symbolic ban, said the new policies are a "big improvement."

"I applaud the fact that they are looking at this issue, and appreciate the fact they took our field stance seriously enough they examined districtwide policies," she said.

Hagopian added she would have liked the district to go further by outlining its anti-discrimination policy to the military, which does not allow openly gay soldiers.

Bill Pearce, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Seattle, said he hasn't had a chance to review the proposed changes and couldn't comment.

Ferguson said that before devising the proposed rules, she surveyed high schools on current practices. The results showed wide variations.

For instance, according to her survey, most large high schools had rules for recruiters, but West Seattle High School did not.

Chief Sealth and West Seattle high schools were among those allowing each branch of the military to visit once a month, while Roosevelt High School allowed each branch just one visit per quarter.

The new proposal should allow everybody to know the rules "before they start the game," Ferguson said.

"If you know what the rules are, it's much easier to follow them," she said.

Nick Perry: 206-515-5639 or nperry@seattletimes.com

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