March 26th, 2008
05:47 PM ET

Should military be allowed to tell its story in public schools?

A wedding photograph of a US soldier affixed to the inside of his helmet from Ghostrider Company 3rd Squadron 2nd Stryker in Diyala Province, Baghdad, in March 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Forest Lake Area High School in Minnesota was all set to have some veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan come and talk to the students.

The event was billed as an academic classroom discussion around military service – teach the kids about military service in the context of their history classes. But suddenly the veterans were told, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Forest Lake Area High School principal Steve Massey said there were concerns the event was becoming political, instead of educational and that made it inappropriate for a public school. Translation: Massey got some calls from parents who complained, he buckled, and canceled the appearance by the veterans. The Star Tribune newspaper reports some parents had threatened to stage a protest if the visit by the soldiers went forward.

The visit was sponsored by "Vets for Freedom", a nonpartisan group whose mission is to educate the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan. The head of the organization, who graduated from Forest Lake Area High School and served in Iraq, calls it "extremely unfortunate" that a school would bow to political pressure and not bring in a veterans organization.

One education expert suggests what happened in Minnesota might be just the tip of the iceberg in this long political year. He recommends that schools still tackle tough subjects, but invite opposing groups to speak out on each issue.

Here’s my question to you: Should the military be allowed to tell its story in public schools?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Alan from Eden Prairie, Minnesota writes:
If the military can honestly and openly tell school-age kids about what military service would do for them, then by all means, let them come to the career day presentation. Clueless kids getting out of high school and falling into the nearest college to major in beer are not doing themselves any good. A few years in the military or some other form of social service would help round and mature them prior to making the real world choice of where to start on a career.

Michael writes:
Jack, Of course military members should be able to tell their story in schools; it's the best kind of history lesson available on the current conflict. But, this group is about as nonpartisan as Iraq Veterans Against the War- nonpartisan but certainly not non-political. The underlying discussion has a place, the agenda certainly does not. As an Iraq War veteran myself, I'd be first to complain about this visit, at least without a chance to partake in the discussion myself.

Colin writes:
I am a veteran of the Iraq war and spoke after my deployment to my wife's high school class in Georgia. The topic focused on the cultural differences between our countries, but at the end when the students asked questions they learned some of the great things the military can offer besides going to war.

Proud Military Wife from Pennsylvania writes:
My husband is active duty and we are stationed in a remote, U.S. location. My daughter took an Air Force water bottle into class and it was sent home with a note that the water bottle could not have any writing on it in class. Our home number had to be changed and unlisted due to the phone calls of hate against us for supporting the war. This is U.S history.

Allen writes:
No. Young adults can be easily influenced into thinking that war is glamorous and exciting. They won't know the truth until long after they have signed up for 4 years and then it's too late.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Terry from Calif


    I think our teachers should teach and the military should stick to defending our Country. I don't have any problem with teachers discussing world events and history, as they are trained educators.

    March 26, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  2. Alan Belisle

    If the military can honestly and openly tell school-age kids about what military service would do for them, then by all means, let them come to the career day presentation. Clueless kids getting out of high school and falling into the nearest college to major in beer are not doing themselves any good. A few years in the military or some other form of social service would help round and mature them prior to making the real world choice of where to start on a career. The only thing I would advise them is to wait until those idiots in Washington get the troops out of the Middle East.

    Eden Prairie, MN

    March 26, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  3. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    I’d be interested in hearing what the military itself has to say about the war and I’m not even in school. On one side of the media I hear that the war is going very well and is succeeding. On the other side of the media I hear that no progress is being made. I’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth. But you didn’t make clear who the “military” is? Is it the brass that shills for their boss, or the soldiers whose feet are on the ground?

    March 26, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  4. John

    I'm afraid The US is already generally viewed around the world to be a warring (war-happy) nation. Taking it to the schools won't suprise many.

    March 26, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  5. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    My father was a recruiter in the Military in the 1960 's during his 20 year career and would talk to the seniors about education opportunities and inform them what the military did for him. It was not propaganda as it is in some areas, but there was a draft at that time as there was when I went into the service for 4 years during Viet Nam. What would they say today, "Join now and spend 3 and 1/2 Years out of the next 4 years in Iraq and if your lucky enough to come back in one piece you'll qualify for the GI bill or if you loose a leg or arm from an IED then you'll get to go to some VA hospital and get lousy medical care".

    March 26, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  6. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The military is a large part of our history and should be allowed to tell it's story in public schools.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  7. Velle In Halifax

    Would that be the story of "the grunts", Jack, who risk life, limb and family-life? Or would it be the story of the Generals and the fairy tales they tell the Congress? What is it the purpose...to educate the children so they can avoid making such dumb mistakes and be smart enough to be strong neighbors to the World instead of the neighborhood bully.
    Does the "military" intend to tell the students that they are NOT policy makers but instead simply ONE of the instruments of that policy?

    March 26, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  8. MadPlato

    NO. Stay out of our schools. We barely have enough time to teach the TAKS test here in Texas.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  9. Allen L Wenger

    No. Young adults can be easily influenced into thinking that war is glamorous and exciting. They won't know the truth until long after they have signed up for 4 years and then it's too late. If we are going to allow the military to tell its story in public schools, then the military should let recruits leave the military whenever they want. No fixed contract for the unsuspecting future heroes.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  10. tiara

    I think its important that the military be incouraged to tell the true story of what its like to be in the service of your country, the places you see, and the battles not only of the battle fieldfield, but in the daily battles of being a service member. I'm not saying start recruiting in the 1st grade but there should be many oppertunities for local service members to speek with schools.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  11. Greg - Greenwwod, Indiana

    Of course, they should come to schools, tell their stories and sign everybody up. Perhaps they could even visit some private schools and sign up kids. Maybe we could change the age to contract with the military to 16. They could even meet with students individually with the vice principal while their there to sign them up.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  12. Brian


    The military should be allowed to tell its story, but it should not be allowed to recruit. School is not optional for students who want to get somewhere in this world and so they cannot be a captive audience to military recruiters who are paid by commission, which means they're going to capitalize on naive youth.

    In 1999, I was in high school in Boise, Idaho, and a marine recruiter told me that my test scores were really high, so I wouldn't have to be "up on the shores with the bullet sponges." Those are his words exactly. Those words are burned into my brain and that recruiter has forever tarnished the image of military recruiters in my mind.

    Brian Rich
    Moscow, Idaho

    March 26, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Amy in Woodstock, NY

    When children in public schools have the same opportunities for college as the children in public schools with rich parents, then yes the military can be allowed to tell its story. But when public school kids can not afford college or have opportunities that are equal or even better than rich kids, then the military is welcome. But as it is now, public school kids are forced to have only the option of military because college is something they can not afford. It is being forced on them and this is not fair in America. The military needs to be an option a recruit is proud of, not forced into by unfair circumstances.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  14. Richard from Washington State

    Should the military be allowed to tell its story in public schools?

    Yes, make sure they work the private schools, prep schools, boarding schools and anywhere else the members of Senate and Congress have their children.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  15. James in Cape Coral, FL

    Of course! Without the millions of Americans who have served, fought and died for this country we most likely wouldn't have the freedom to ask and answer such wierd questions. We should allow the military to do what they have to do to recruit the finest soldiers from coast to coast, since it is a volentary service.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  16. Michael in Lorton, Virginia

    I think that they should, but without the details. They have earned that right of passage. In today's society, the "flavor" of freedom is seldom known to the ones it protects

    March 26, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  17. Don from New Jersey

    As retired Navy, I believe juniors and seniors should be spoken to about the military. They are our next generation of leaders. All graduating seniors should have to do 2 years of military service to their country, before college or entering the work force. It may help some to mature and other's to find out what responsibility, team work and self respecty is!

    March 26, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  18. Jose, from Europe

    Yes, Jack.

    From an education point of view, that would be important as it could contribute to younger generations learning about world issues and really difficult situations and moments that may affect them in the future, contributing to making them better citizens.

    That would certainly much more appropriate than having creationists or not-so-intelligent-designers present their "case" at schools.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Ed Reed

    As long as their honest. During my day, two buddies joined the Army with the promise of becoming aircraft mechanics. After their promised training, they were sent to Vietnam as door-gunners on helicopters.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    March 26, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  20. Connie Whitaker

    Dear Jack,

    Jump on google and type in Kevin Bewley. He will always be my beloved son. Unfortunately, Kevin was the 3,857th member of the military to be killed in Bush's war.

    My family totally, completely, unashamedly and unequivicaly support all branches of the armed services. We stand behind them to the teeth and we in no way blame the militiary for Kevin's death. However, having said that, none of us have EVER supported the village idiot and his partner along with all of the pathetic members of Congress and stupid, yes, I said stupid Americans who support the war but don't have a dog in the fight.

    I would like to see the military tell their stories and then......have people like me and my son and others who knew and loved my son go in behind the military and begin a dialog with the kids on how they feel about a President, Vice-President, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State who so willingly lead "We the People," into a war that they KNEW was all based on lies, more lies and damned lies.

    I do believe that the militiary should be allowed to tell their stories, blood, guts and everything in the public schools. Show actual footage of American's getting killed. God knows if I could get pictures of Kevin's broken body you would have them and be urged to show them on CNN.

    Furthermore, and on top of that, I firmly believe that from the 7th grade upward all students should have to watch the first 7 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan," "Blackhawk Down," and lets throw in "The 300," while we are at it.

    These youth, this nation's furture, needs to see the reality of war on the human body. Watching arms, legs, heads all other body parts flying through the air will be sobering for them. Reality bites. All of America's Ayatollah's, our good preachers, who support war should have their tax free status removed and....all of the disguisting people who support the war and voice this need to make sure they have a close family member serving in Iraq. (Notice I've not said a thing against Afghanistan.)

    If you google Kevin Bewley you will see that my wonderful, youngest son was a member of the United States Navy's Elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobil Unit 11. Kevin was the 6th man from that detatchment to be killed in Iraq since April of 07. Kevin died Nov 5, 07 when an insurgent, I'm sure it was someone who Duh-ba-ya inspired, fired a Rocket Propelled Grenade loaded with a shape charged projectile into the vehicle he was driving. The device severed Kevin's spinal column and blew off his left hand. He was dead within seconds. Kevin had just successfully diffused two IED"S so other American forces working in the area could move out to what they were supposed to do.

    From the age of 12 onward young people need to be confronted with reality in situations like this. They need to be able to see the difference in a leader who "brings it on" by HIS dwindling levels of testerone and sends out the best of the best to meet HIS needs verses a leader, man or woman, red or yellow, black or white who seeks the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    While we are on this subject I propose "We the People," send George, Dick, Rice, Rumsfeld, and by all means Carl Rove and Genera Peter Pace along with their families to Iraq to broker a peace while we begin an orderly withdrawl of our troops.

    In the words of General Colin Powell, "You break it, you bought it." George and Dick broke it let them go over there and fix it!!!!!!!

    Connie K Whitaker
    Greenbrier, AR
    Greiving mother of a true American Hero

    March 26, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  21. Hubert Bertrand

    The military should tell any body,As long as it is the truth, Politicians are afraid of the truth. It goes to show they have something to hide.The school is a good place because the kids need to know the (TRUTH) we are tired of being (BRAINWASHED)

    March 26, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  22. John in San Diego

    Jack, I'm an anti-war guy, but we're always going to have a military, and for some the military experience has provided more discipline and maturity than their famly or school has ever given them. If we can let our schools preach creationism as science, we should certaily let the military offer their spin on military service.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  23. MARK

    Yes Jack, not only that, they should be shown REAL-TIME footage of battle scenes unedited in all its GLORE & GORE!
    May be then, they will think twice before getting some kind of 'romantic' notion about war [ like you-know-who ]!

    March 26, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  24. Nuwan Sam

    I don't think so. Those stories will be full of negetivity and graphic details, I don't think many young minds should be polluted with them. We rather teach our children to how to live in peace than glorifying wars.

    Nuwan from Houston, Texas

    March 26, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  25. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Jack, the last I knew one of our basic freedoms in America is Free Speech"? Why shouldn't the military be equal with you in the drive-by media in this respect? Or are you suggesting that you be the judge of who has freedom of speech?

    Gads you folks make me laugh, woh needs the cartoon network......

    March 26, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  26. Mike S., New Orleans

    What is the military's story? Is there only one? Will it be stories of heroism, or descriptions of bloody body parts?

    Why open the Pandora's box of indoctrinating young public school students on the military. They can learn it from the books. We certainly don't need military recruiters in grades K through 12. Just give them an education then let them make educated decisions when the appropriate age arrives.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  27. W B in Las Vegas

    YES as long as the kids get BOTH sides of the story. The Navy taught me to fly during Viet Nam and with that training and the education I got from the GI Bill in the 1970's I was able to eventually land a pilot job with a major airline and have a wonderful 20 year flying career.

    BUT the Navy also threw out a lot of Aviators that that wanted to make it a career when Viet Nam ended. that also happened to my late father who was a Naval Aviator during WWII. the kids should know that like any company in this day and age, the Military will dump you when you are no longer useful to them. they also need to know that their future benefits can be cut due to the whims of politicians, many of which have never served in the military.

    the sword of military service is a two edged blade. the training and benefits you receive can set you up for a productive life BUT you can also be in great danger and should have NO illusions about the government "honoring your service" when it come to Federal Budget time.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  28. Howard

    Yes, we cannot allow Sex ED. advocate to say experimentation is ok ,yet not hear the voice of men and women who defend this nation, and did not some kid say last week that the Oregon school system is not teaching about the war if kids wish to hear what is going on should you not hear it from someone who is fighting the war and not form a protester to the war who only knows what he reads in paper or online in most cases, and our children are able to read, so that protester voice Is redundant while the soldiers voice is new and unknown to most.

    Joshua Tree, Ca

    March 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  29. Oscar Valdez

    Of course. They are America's heroes.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  30. john up north

    Sound stupid to ask but when was free speech abolished? Ho right I forgot about the patriot act. I guess our kids will not hear about the mess they would have to be drafted to clean up in a few year.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  31. Waltie in Ma.

    Dear Jack:

    Bush & Cheney would love to do that!! Get the "Next Gen" ready for their war against Iran so an un-ending supply of Americans would be killed in the "Name of Terror".

    What should be done, is to have all the offspring from our senators, congressmen & women and anyone in public office to hear the speaches from the military. That would put a stop to this moronic activities immediatly!!!

    March 26, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  32. Rita Lyn

    My answer is an emphatic YES! Kids must "read" history about soldiers, so, why should they not get to actually "hear" history from one? God bless our troops!

    March 26, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  33. Esther

    What are they going to talk about? Are they going to tell us what it was like before the military what happened and what it is like now? Is it going to be like someone from AA coming into the school and talk about the effects of Alcohol on there life. Will it be like being Scared Straight tried to do with the penal system? Send in an inmate and hope that the child understands consequence for the actions they do. Ok I think that would be a good thing. I was in the military and I would talk to them about how to stay out. I do not believe their lifes should be used in the way we are using our young men and women today in the military. I served in the 80's I would have died for us in Iran had we gone there but we choose to just talk. I thought we were on a higher path then but now if you ask me to go I would say no.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  34. Harry

    As part of Job fairs, etc. the answer would be a strong yes, as it is an option for our youth to explore.

    Also, I think that each school's alumni that served or are presently serving can be called upon to speak to students and share their experiences, while considering the maturity of the students.

    Outside of those options, I doubt that seeing a disciplined organization would be well received by today's kids.

    Of course, I am one of those that think we should bring back the draft. I know Bush et al oppose that idea, as we wouldn't be fighting for oil, if we had the draft.


    March 26, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  35. Patricia

    The military going into high schools is not a thing that should be done. Those kids are impressionable & some can't see clearly what is in store for them. Some seize onto the military to get away from a bad home-life & those kids probably are not good material to train for the military. But, if the military goes into colleges & tells the actual truth to those students, then I don't have a problem. But, it has to be the truth. Not glorified, but, the truth, as in, show the movie "Coming Home" to those young people before you let the recruiter into the room.
    Palmdale, Ca.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  36. Paul

    As a military veteran I am not at all ashamed to say I don't want my children to join the military. With incompotent leaders like Bush and Cheney I don't want my children being talked into joining a military where they may have to put their lives on the line for idiotic people in our government who believe war is the path to victory. I greatly admire our troops but I am very ashamed at our military leaders and officials working in the Pentagon. Therefore, as a parent I do not want anyone coming to my child's school who may try to influence them to join the military. There are better and safer ways to serve our country as long as we have people like Bush and Cheney making decisions.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  37. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Dear Jack,
    No, No, No.
    As we know, military people are not allowed to speak out
    against the war. We do not need our children to hear Bush's
    false claims, stories. We do not need for them to hear only
    the glamorized version of the military.
    Why would they even want to, except to get enlistment?
    I don't know of anyone who would want their children or
    grandchildren to be a victim of this wartime diaster.
    Am sure they need new recruits, buuuut.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  38. Ddbbie

    Yes. Since all the branches of the military are actively trying to recruit students on every high school campus in our nation, programs, such as the one that was cancelled, should be allowed in public schools so that students can get accurate information as to what they will face if they sign up for military duty. This is one true way to get factual information (since it is coming from veterans who have served our country in Afghanistan and Iraq). I can tell you first hand when the Army recruited my daughter for service, she was not given all the "facts." She received the "sugar-coated facts" from her recruiting officer. My daughter did go on to serve in Iraq and is very proud of her service (and so are we). But, had we gotten the true facts, we very much doubt that she (or us since she signed up at 17) would have signed on that dotted line.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  39. Josh

    No, Because they won't be allowed to tell the honest truth about what is going on over in Afghanstan or Iraq. Since the troops aren't allowed to voice their dissent and/or the fear of the miltary trying to recruit more people to fight in Bush's war. It's a shame that the soldiers won't tell them that war is hell and that only as a last resort should war happen. Don't get me wrong Jack, I support the troops but under the Bush administration. We may never get the real story of what's going on over there instead of the Bush Adiministration's rhetoic and nonsense.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  40. John

    Yes!!! As retired Navy ( 1965-1993), I feel it is another "duty" for us to tell those in school what the militar and military life was like. Of course it needs to be "tempered" talking to elemetary students verses talking to high school or college students.
    If the John Wayne war movies were realistic verses Hollywood versions of war we MAY NOT have had a VietNam!

    March 26, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  41. Dan, Washington DC

    Our fabulous education system at work. Don't like the way history is written? Ok, we'll edit things out. Don't want to hear two sides of an opinion? Ok, we'll only bring in people who agree with you. Don't think a cavalcade of scientists with mountains of proof is enough? Ok, we'll put a warning sticker in your book. Don't like math? Ok, we'll stop teaching it to you. Don't like gym class? Ok, you can stop going. When are we going to stop coddling our nation's children?

    March 26, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  42. James D (Cary, NC)

    An event like the military is like sex edication; the schools can give the information, the parents give the guidance. It may be that the parents would benefit from coming together and discussing the state of the wars more than their kids would.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  43. tim from Ravenna, OH

    If it was this organization's intent to attempt to convince kids that the war in Iraq is a justified one, then NO they should not be allowed. If it is about soldiers sharing their personal experience in the military then I don't see a problem. School is not a place to plant the seeds of any positive presidential administrations legacy and this sounds like what they were trying to do. I would never have issue with an attempt to honor our soldiers service and we should be teaching our kids to honor those that have sacrificed for the betterment of us all.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  44. Melanie, Lake Wales, FL

    Yes, because it's history. Honestly, I don't agree with the war, but I would have been fascinated to hear the tales and stories, and ask my questions about these wars. It's also a way to recognize the hard work of the soldiers.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  45. Terry in Hanover, VA

    Deja vu; Vietnam redux. Are the parents trying to shield their children from the realities of war or are they trying to forget the war altogether? What's next? Spitting on the soldiers as they return home?

    It's show and tell; not recruiting. They're soldiers doing their job to keep America and Americans free, even those Americans who would spit on them, literally and figuratively. Each soldier has a story to tell, something to share with others. They deserve better treatment not only from that public school system but also from our government. They deserve at a minimum our respect.

    I dislike President Bush, but I support our troops. They're welcome in my home any time. God bless them.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  46. Richard Sternagel

    Yes,there are aways several nuances to every issue including war! What better way to teach our youth tolerance of other people's opinion!

    March 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  47. Terry from North Carolina

    Absolutely todays young people should know the sacrifices our military have made and will continue to make in order to keep this country safe and secure.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  48. Eric

    Why not? This would be a great opportunity for protesters to show their hate once again for all the folks that defend our country and therefore their right to protest.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  49. Ralph from NY

    Yes, Jack– as long as they are honest. We live in a country where everyone has the right to speak feely about what what they feel is important. We have seen politicians do this and often speak lies - look at Bush before we invaded Iraq, and look at Clinton and Obama in recent weeks. Let the military have its say - between what we hear or read inthe mass media, and what we learn from troops returning home, I think we know too much about what has occurred overseas to know what is and is not true.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  50. Jed from Chico, CA

    If indeed this could have been interpreted as a political statement then in this particular instance, I agree that it would be innappropriate.

    However I don't believe it is inappropriate for veterans to tell their story in public schools. In fact it is quite beneficial, especially when it is combined with balanced viewpoints. I remember studying World War II in high school and hearing from 3 or 4 veterans who offered all sorts of stories some good, some bad. We also heard from a woman who talked about her daily life during the war and about a job she never thought she'd have. But the most powerful speaker was an Japanese American man who talked about his childhood in a concentration camp – a dark place in American history I never knew about before that day.

    After those gripping stories, I came to realize that there a few better ways to understand history than to have an open dialogue with those who lived it.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  51. Old Wings, OR

    Military yes, but maybe you should tell the whole story about Vets for Freedom before you begin advocating their pro-war stance. The undelying motive for this group is recruitment of more of America's best, to fight and die in the war for Iraq oil rights. As McCain says "protectinig America's interests in Iraq". I wonder if the Vets for Freedom would do a tour advocating – "Get Halliburton out of Iraq" – Or maybe "No More No-bid Contracts". Or finally , "WE are the Armed Forces, not Blackwater"....

    March 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  52. joan rice

    Hot Springs, AR.
    If our soliders can't speak in our schools, who should? Jeremiah Wright? Of course they should be allowed to tell of their experiences in the schools. I don't believe it should be done in a way to recruit high school students but to tell what conditions are truly like over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  53. David Natchez,MS

    In my old home town, Odon Indiana every Veterans Day they welcome veterans to come to school and talk to the students. This allows the students to ask questions and get answers that they can't get elsewhere. Some of the veterans that come to speak are pro service some are not. If for no other reason,it makes the students understand that duty to your country doesn't mean you agree with all decisions make by the government but you go anyway.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  54. JoAnn in Iowa

    Only in the context of a panel discussion with experts who have alternative views. Let the war cheerleaders tell their story, but only on a panel discussion with vetrans who think the war was a terrible mistake. Bring in foreign policy experts to the panel who will speak about the way we upset the delicate power balance in the region by rushing into war. Bring in representatives of alternative service organizations to talk about strengthening this nations without war.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  55. Veronica in Richmaond, VA.

    Hi Jack, yes the Troops should be able to tell these kids what kind of education they can get in the military, & to make sure they read the fine print. I'm sure the Troops won't tell them about killing, but maybe stear them towards the Medical Units, so when they get out, they will always have a job. Just think, if Bush had not lied, 4,000 would still be alive.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  56. Denese, San Antonio, Texas

    The veterans should not be allowed to go to the school to talk about the Iraq war. This group is political. I am always puzzled when I hear someone say "success in Iraq". I have yet to hear someone (successfully) define "success in Iraq". Nothing they can talk about will match the reason why we went to Iraq, so what are they going to tell the children that would be educational? Nope, they are going to be voicing their political views in a school. That is infringing on folks who may not agree with their views. Folks who pay SCHOOL TAXES. I am happy that the parents had success in stopping this nonsense.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  57. IFEANYI AZUBIKE Houston, Texas

    The timing, context and loyalty of those involved to learning and not ideology will perhaps be the most important denominator in deciding who speaks in public schools. High schools are supposed to be citadels of learning not a breeding ground for political ideologies. If soldiers honestly desire to talk about the military as an institution, that in my opinion is awesome. If however the intent is to execerbate an already polarizing issue, like the Iraqi war, they should go ahead and tell it on the streets of Basra not in our schools.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  58. Bob from Traverse city Michigan

    Jack the free flow of information is vital to the funtion and exsistance of a democracy and censorship is it's path to demise. If our schools are teaching our kids to pay attention to the important events that surround them, and to look at all sides before forming an opinion then there would be no reason to fear a presentation such as this. The parents of these kids could keep their kid home if they don't think they're capable of seperating the facts from propagandizing that's their right as a parent, but they shouldn't deny the other parents their rights and they shouldn't be promoting censorship as they are now.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  59. Boxer

    YES or Take their school $$$ away. Military and Corperations are the same. S/F

    March 26, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  60. Joe in DE

    The sponsoring organization has a political adgenda. All partisan groups should be banned. Similar participation by an nonpolitial group might be worthwhile.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  61. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Of course we should start the spin in public schools. If we get to the kiddies really early, say 6th or 7th grade, we could convince them of anything, however implausible and however spun the facts are. The sales job which is enlistment in the armed forces should be bombed into the heads of our children, right along with God, the flag, and unbounded faith in our leaders.


    March 26, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  62. Meryl from Bklyn NY

    it depends on WHO is writing the story and how close to being factual it is. Propoganda is Propoganda no matter who is tasked to deliver it.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  63. Forde Woodcock

    Of course they should or how are we going to teach the next generation not to be as stupit as us, not to dare question or say anything aginst an administration that refers to war as Romantic. You can tell Bush and Cheney never served, I think between the pair of them they only managed to shoot a lawyer, as far as I know.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  64. Debbie,NJ

    Are they telling their story or are they recruiting. This is why the parents don't want it in the schools. Our current administration will kill off a whole generation of people before they admit that they were wrong in going to Iraq. Already its been said that 50% of the 4,000 soldiers that have died were of the age 18-25. 50%. So they want to add to that statistic. And for what. To get involved in a regions civil war that has been going on since Issac and Ishmel and will go on unto Jesus Christ returns.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  65. Carol, Springfield, MA

    In my honest opinion, military service could be discuss with anybody who are old enough to vote. Discussing military service in high school sound like a recruiting strategy and that is unacceptable.

    I am glad that the school did the right thing because if my son were in that school he will not be going to school on that day. I am not willing to "volunteer" him to this dumb war.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  66. Aaron B.; Champaign, IL

    The best way to handle this problems is to hold school sponsored debates. Perhaps even with veterans on hand to lend their personal account. Not to put the "War on Terror" on trial, but to give everyone equal footing. Otherwise, no one's going to be satisfied by not-intended-to-get-political-events, given the current political landscape.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  67. Paulette Dallas,PA

    Sounds like censorship to me in Minnesota! In our local schools verterans have spoken for many years. This is a tricky question though. McCain and the Republicans would want the military to make the experience sound like an adventure and then free education – to help recruit, but they certainly don't want them to freighten off prospective enlistees by horror stories about war. The Democrats don't want them to make it sound too inviting because that would end their stand on the war, but if the stories were gory enough the Democrats would be fine with it because it would help their stance against the war. Mothers don't want anyone convincing their kids to enlist at such a dangerous time in our history. As I said earlier, this question has many sides and answers.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  68. Marcus mt.olive

    Free speach in a school no way;

    March 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  69. Mary - Santee CA

    Of course! Whatever happened to free speech in this country? With all the demonstrations against the military, especially in Oakland, CA, the students should see these military personnel are serving their country which gives them the freedom to go to schools and yes their parents to protest. They are not going to promote the war, they are going to show the children their life as a person in the military and that our freedom depends on their defending it. Shame on this administrator who showed no courage whatsoever and the parents who THREATENED to protest. What message are they sending to their children? (have little or no respect for the military).

    March 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  70. Sharon, Indiana

    The military should be allowed to tell their story in public schools, however, the schools should also allow members of non-partisan groups against the war to speak as well.

    The way this country treats its military is a shame. As time goes by, I see more and more truth in John Edward's claim of two Americas, or at least various separate and distinct groups which don't mingle that much. The strain on the military personnel and their families has been tremendous, yet most Americans live their daily lives with little thought to what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    And, although the death toll reached 4000, many in the media seemed more concerned with digging through Senator Clinton's records to see where she was when her husband was doing things which are really none of anyone's business - information which serves no value. So unfortunately, with great unease I must recognize that not only is our government broken, but our media is too.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  71. Lou from Iowa

    How bipartisen can the group be if their message was to teach the students about how important success is in iraq and afghanastan? Sounds like they definately would be pushing an opinion consistent with the republican agenda. Let them get back to math and science class...two subjects we will need them to do well in if we ever want a solution to this energy problem we are facing. If one of these furture scientists could figure out a way to power our country without oil, we could free our military of the strong hold the middle east has over us.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  72. Tammie

    No, they shouldn't be allowed in. All they really want to do this for is to recruit anyway. Enough kids have died for Bush as it is.

    Tammie, MI

    March 26, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  73. Lynn Gottlob, Ohio

    Jack, My father served in World War II and my husband in Viet Nam. Our grandson's favorite question aroung the table are about these experiences. War is not glamorous and is serious. Wars are a part of the human condition. Could we think of it like sex education. Prevention is half the battle.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  74. Chuck in Eugene Oregon

    In this situation NO, I agree with the parents. From all appearance this organization had a political adgenda. However, if a soldier wanted to speak at a school, about their experiences in war as it relates to world history, culture, people, living conditions ect then drawing a comparrison to our way of life.. then yes.
    But to interject a political or recruiting adgenda NO.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  75. Ryan, Champaign IL

    Jack, anytime students are subjected to war only, abstinence only, creation only, et c. – we are supporting indoctrination rather than education. The next generation deserves far better if we want our children to become rational, informed adults.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  76. Anne, Arlington, VA

    Only military personnel who are retired or no longer serving on active duty (i.e., who have completed their tours) should be sharing their experiences with students. There can be no "live" ties to the military establishment, which it has its own propagandistic agenda: namely, to recruit. Young people need to be educated, not indoctrinated, if they are to be useful citizens in the country we call "America." Last time I checked, this country was not a third-world dictatorship.

    Further, any educational institution hosting veterans should include voices of veterans who openly question the wisdom of the conflcts they were in and who challenge our government's current military policies, politics and actions. If this country truly values freedom of speech and an informed citizenry, then there shouldn't be a problem with representing the full spectrum of military experience.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  77. Anne, Arlington, VA

    PS: This was clearly a propaganda mission, since the idea was to sell "the importance of success in Iraq." They must have thought the parents, or the community, were pretty clueless if they thought they wouldn't see right through the goal.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  78. Toni from Milford, DE

    I absolutely believe veterans should be allowed to tell their stories. What can the parents possibly be protecting their children from other than the truth?

    March 26, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  79. Karen P

    Not really. We have enough problems in our public schools now and this might create too much of an polarizing event. I can understand one person being a guest to one classroom...but not an entire group. Plus, this might be very unnerving if there are students whose parent(s) might be in Iraq at the time.

    Look, I taught high school when the 9-11 disaster happened and there were many upset students who had been to New York just the summer before...it was a very difficult time for them. I am surprised that the school administration isn't understanding how traumatic an entire group of military might be for many students. Then there will be those who will romanticize the war. You just never know about young minds.

    If the group wants to hold a speaking engagement in the evening and let those who are interested attend, that's fine...but don't force this on the students themselves without parents being present or having the option to not be in attendance.

    March 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  80. Richard in Denver Colorado

    It all depends on exactly what they are going to talk about. I respect these veterans, but if they are going into classrooms and giving their support to the war, then it becomes political. There is also the IVAW (Iraq veterans against the war) which makes it even more political. If they talk about their experiences, and not about the politics, then maybe. If they make it sound like a big bold adventure then they will influence these children and make war sound romantic. That is a problem also. I would bet that the Bush administration is involved somewhere in the shadows, to try to get more of our young people to enlist.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  81. Bob L. Philadelphia, PA

    I teach History in a Philadelphia public school. I have invited a Tuskegee Airman to my class for the last three years. If I knew a current soldier, I would invite them in to tell of the horrors of Iraq or Afganistan. We already talk about the gruesomeness of war, especially trench warfare and today's wars. I have never met a student in five years of teaching who wanted me to stop talking about the horrors of war. So, yes, they should.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  82. Ram

    Certainly Yes. It is a great education & motivation. But not for politics or with the intention of recruiting. Truth & consequences should be presented. Let kids & their parents make their own decision.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  83. Cher, North Port, FL

    Education IS political. From NCLB to textbooks favoring white males, and now denying personal accounts of war... What else could it be but political? Unfortunately, critical inquiry has lost its place in many classrooms because of such political maneuvering.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  84. Heidi in ID

    It sounds like this principal needs to read Fahrenheit 451. The kids will learn more about the world in five minutes with these veterans than they otherwise would all year.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  85. mikeytherhino

    I have no problem with groups of servicemen telling their stories in American classroom for students to hear. But if there be opposing viewpoints to what those servicemen are speaking of, It should be expressed, But not at the expense of hearing those servicemen speak. The school was wrong to cave to those parents who didn't want them there. They should have given equal time to the parents and let each group have their say.

    This just teaches those kids that caving is acceptable and that intelligent discussion is something to be avoided. And that is wrong.

    Mike, From Staten Island, New York.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  86. william

    As a high school educator and the son of a military father, I am offended but not surprised. Schools are often run from the perspective of offending the least number while pleasing the greatest. It is often a weak kneed approach and this is on of those examples. This situation requires backbone and the courage of ones convictions and administrators without these qualities, like leaders of countries, have no place in positions of power. I'm sure if a parent complained that the bunny rabbit frightened her child, the zoo would be banned as well. If the members of the armed forces are not welcome in Minnesota that's a crime but they are welcome in my school.


    March 26, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  87. Tom from Ky.

    Jack...Of course they should be able to talk in the schools. I am assuming that you mean the recruiters for the military and not some of the BS that many higher ups say. Many men have fought and died to give everyone the right to speak and be heard, and that certainly should include the military, since THEY were the ones dying. If it were up to many of the folks that I am reading comments from, we would have NO military, and then where would their sorry ass's be when someone decided to come in and take over this country. I guess we could all call "Code Pink" and let them defend us all. Sorry, as a VietNam vet, I have NO sympathy for bleeding hearts that think we can "talk" to the ememy and then believe what they tell us. Get real people..........There ARE enemies out there that want to kill ALL of us, and that includes you and your families.......Are YOU ready to defend them? Didn't think so!

    March 26, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  88. jim andresen

    Should military be allowed to tell its story in public schools? That is a very good question. YES THEY SHOULD. They need to hear more then just the number of deaths today. Since the military is all volentary, they need to know what made them decide to enlisted and what are the conditions really like over there. Without this kind of thing they will never how the soldiers feel about the wars. They will not hear it from the news media.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  89. Edward Nelson, Mount Vernon, NY

    Hey Jack,

    Hillary Clinton and John McCain don't want anyone to know what military personnel actually thinks of them. For instance, the officer who arrested Hillary Clinton's senior advisor, Sidney Blumenthal, for Driving While Intoxicated in New Hampshire was miraculously ordered to Iraq shortly after the arrest. Because the officer was unavailble to testify at a trial the charges were reduced to a lesser charge. Of all the soldiers in Iraq, I'm extremely interested in knowing what the officer has to say about the war in Iraq. Hey Jack, I bet what he says would be educational to adults and children alike.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  90. Inri from Cambridge, MA

    I identify as incredibly liberal by most standards, but I can't see a problem with letting soldiers tell their story. Supporting the soldiers does not mean you have to support the war. If anything, the horrors experienced on the battlefield would get kids to shy away from combat as an appropriate means of conflict resolution. I think that children have a lot to learn from veterans, but that ultimately it remains the responsibility of the parents to educate their child in matters of philosophy and the morality of war.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  91. Iraqi Freedom Veteran w/Education Degree

    Let the military personnel visit the school. It sounds as though principal Massey and the concerned parents assumed that Vets for Freedom were going to hand-select veterans who are in favor of our presence in Iraq. As an Iraqi Freedom veteran I can say without hesitation that many military personnel would rather be home with our families instead of in Iraq. But if Vets for Freedom wasn't planning to stack the deck in favor of their agenda then FLAHS may have just missed an educational target of opportunity that would have helped their students better understand and appreciate the numerous sacrifices of military service. Some students might become motivated to join the military, others would have definitely been deterred.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  92. kathe

    I think all educational institutions have the right to properly teach our children of all ages about what is happening in the world and if they are lucky enough to have someone who has "been there, done that" that to me as a teacher is wonderful. Don't think our Veterans don't understand who their audience is.
    Now, as a teacher, I would have sent a note home to each parent letting them know that Veterans would be speaking to their child's class or classes and I would inform them that those of them who felt their children should not be a part of this presentation would be allowed to either come home, go to another class during this time, or if supervision is available, they will be allowed to participate in "recess" during this presentation. The parents have a right to know what is being taught to their children and they have a right to know when a visitor regardless of who it is and what the subject manner is, it is the parents responsibility to make that decision whether their child can participate.
    No teacher or school principal or adminstration should force any subjects on children that may harm them mentally or physically. After all, suppose this child has lost a father, mother, sister, brother, family member to war – do you want to now remind them of this fact.
    As a parent, for instance, and I am a parent of four amazing sons who are now all in grown men and no they did not go to Iraq for what???? Anyway as a parent when they were younger if for some reason George Bush, Cheny, Rumsfled or Condi Rice were going to be a guest at their school – I would keep my child at home or in another class for I am opposed to the adminstration and do not want my children subjected to them in any way, if I have control of that. Of course that never happened as they are too old, but what did happen at their schools in Detroit they were able to hear MLKing speak, and several other positive role models, including General Colin Powell, John F. and Robert Kennedy, Mother Theresa of all people.

    So it is the schools responsibility to allow the parents to make a judgement on what is being offered as "educational" beyond the classroom – not the teacher, not the Principal, and not the school adminstrators.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  93. Brian D. Lawlor

    JACK..The military story will be told. Children tomorrow spend the early years home with parents then when entering the school you will find a military style. After grade nine and before entering High School the students decide upon their direction be it Government, Industry, Finance, Academic, Military, Media, Religion and the many jobs of the Peoples. They will dress according to that direction and develop their suit of many colors for all must have a basic understanding to all of the above.

    Along the way that story will be told Jack for just as there is a separation of church and state so too is there a separation of state and military. Yet all three are parts to the operating system under collapse you know as the United Stes of America.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  94. Ronald, American living abroad

    If the Vet's stated goal is to get everyone on board to believe the Bush/Clinton lie that the War in Iraq was needed and winnable, then they should not be allowed to do this unchallenged. We should all be very thankful for their brave service, but to allow them to become mouthpieces for a failed policy does not require complicity by the local school board. Maybe McCain was behind this . . . he will need those grade-school kids to be cannon fodder for his 100 year occupation of the sovereign country of Iraq.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  95. James P. from Washington State


    The key to me was the following statement "The visit was sponsored by “Vets for Freedom”, a nonpartisan group whose mission is to educate the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan."

    Now I am a combat veteran, and a very strong supporter for all of our men and women in the military but this sounds like it is more political than giving a 'nuts and bolts' of what it is to be in the military.

    I would have to agree that this should not be something that should be in our schools.

    March 26, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  96. Mischelle from Illinois

    The parents that think that keeping the military out of their kids schools is a good idea should not be allowed to benefit from the protection of our brave men and women who serve this great country.

    I am a former service- WOMAN, and many of my family members have also served our country bravely. The Military teaches very good things to those who need it, things like: unity, service, committment, sacrifice, belonging to something that is bigger than oneself. The kids of those SELFISH parents are probably so spoiled rotten that they would be the first ones who needed military guidence. These are the people that our soldiers are dieing for, they should feel tremendous SHAME!

    March 26, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  97. Chris Texas

    NO! I was in the Marines for 6 years and nothing I did or went through needs to be discussed in a classroom setting. If you want to know about what I went through then you need to join the armed forces. Military experiences should not be forced on anybody, especially young impressionable minds of high school kids. We aren't even allowed to say the pledge of allegience anymore, so now you want to discuss patriotism and military history? Give me a break.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  98. Peter

    yup, they should but well sensored.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  99. Greg in Ky

    As a veteran I think any school in America that would not let a veteran speak should be shut down. Thats whats wrong with this Country and numerous others.They forget that if it wasn't for United States Veterans and active duty service members they would have nothing .

    March 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  100. Justin

    Yes. The military has a great story to tell and we should all hear it. They are great and wonderful people. It's not our military's fault they have a horrible Commander and Chief. Keep the politics out of it, and let them into schools!

    March 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  101. Brian, Columbia, Md.

    Politics in a public school? Heavens to Betsy! What if my child was exposed to some political ideology other than my own?! Next you thing you know, they're having opinions, registering to vote... No, no, no. Can't have that.

    Keep the military out, and book another appearance for the animal guy. Who wants to hear "war stories" from some washed-up veteran when the kids can just play pretend-combat games on their X-Boxes when they get home?

    March 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  102. Chriss Miller, East Haddam, CT

    Jack, If a vets group is supporting a particular view then it is not educational per se but becomes a one-sided debate. Ad debate can be very educational and if the group is willing to participte and allow others with differing opinions, that can be educational and informative.

    Too many people claiming to be non-partisan are wolves in sheeps clothing.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  103. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    Jack, it could be good because they can see that if they don't study hard to be better educate them selfs on all topics or they might be the one's starting or going to a dumb un~educated war. Or they can speak about what is good about the military??

    March 26, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  104. Peter DePalma

    I have the title for your new book. "It's Getting Dumber Out There".

    We can destroy a falling sattelite. We can send a man to the moon. we can fire a missle through a bedroom window and spy on everyone in the United States, but we do not have the Technology to make a secure passport chip.

    Let me know when the Mexican Peso is worth more than the U S Dollar and I will move there. I am getting so sick of all this bullxxxx, I am ready to quit.

    You people report all these problems that are happening today, and not "one" of the candidtes comment. Are they watching reruns of Howdy Doody are they just plain stupid.

    Thanks for you, Wolf and Lou dobbs. Otherwise, I would think I was in Disney World.

    Peter, Maine

    March 26, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  105. Tyler Henderson Independence, KS

    Speaking from personal experience no they shouldn't. We had veterns come to my school and speak to us, he made one smart political remark making some people really mad (myself included). I wouldn't mind if the school made sure to inforce the no political discussion or state that its HIS opinion.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  106. Carlos C.

    Sure, you're old enough to hear the realities of war by the time you reach highschool. If you ask me I think part of the problems that kids are having growing up now days is that they're sometimes so shut off from reality that when it finally hits them they sometimes don't know how to handle it.

    And have you ever noticed that the majority of those who don't understand the -reality- of war are usually those who support unjust wars the most. Maybe if they seen the horrors of the bodies of soldiers, women, or children who have been decapitated or burnt together people would think a little harder and realize that war should be declared only as a last resort. And maybe people would also understand a little more why our soldiers are coming back and needing psychiatric treament. God bless every one of them btw.

    New Jersey

    March 26, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  107. Ken

    I don't object to the military presenting their info at public schools. However, it probably would be best all around if they had a type of "Job Fair" off campus to avoid any controversy about being at the schools. No matter how frustrated and angry we are about the ignorance, arrogance and incompetence of Bush & Cheney, the U.S. Military deserves our respect and assistance, they are carrying the load for us.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  108. henry Glenn

    If we believe that our children are our future leaders, then we better make them aware of our successes and needless to say our recent mistakes. I have plenty of confidence in America's kids to know that they know what has happened and what should have happened.
    Waltham, Ma.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  109. Ann California

    Juniors and Seniors in highschool should hear about the military experience but the true military experience, the good and the ugly. A military recruiter only paints the pleasant money making picture. After all, he gets paid for every person he enlist.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  110. Dewayne

    Is this an effort to enlist them. I think they should waite until they are seniors before they talk in schools.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  111. Sam L


    The military has just as much rights as anybody to be invited to a class room to share their point of view.

    I don't approve of this war and don't get me started about this administration, but in the interest of fairness, why should the military be censored from speaking to certain segments of the public while other groups be given access?

    The choice is really between this: Allow ALL groups to be able to talk and presents their view to school children, or none. Since I'm always for people having more information than not, I rather see the School open their doors to whoever wants to speak on this difficult subject.


    March 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  112. Jo


    Sure, the military should be allowed to tell "a story", but certainly not the true story. They should cave to political pressure and only deliver canned, feel-good positive and let's not forget "patriotic" messages. Besides, these are young, impressionable kids that they are talking to. If this war continues, they could be the ones in the line of fire. The poor ones, that is.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  113. abyot

    hey Jack, ofcourse the should be allowed to tell the story, even clinton can tell lies to every one, about how terrifing her trip was back when she went and visit bosinia... i guess they dont want the real truth, my mistake

    March 26, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  114. Clint from LA

    Since they had a political message, no they should not be in the school as the military does not make policy it follows orders of the civilian leadership.
    If it was informational about life in the service that is a different story.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  115. Glen

    Sounds like this veterans group is looking to justify the war and recruit new soldiers.

    That does sound political to me.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  116. Beatrice

    I vehemently oppose any visits from military personnel to schools -they are nothing but disguised military recruiting efforts. Enough young men and women have been manipulated into misguided idealism about the military's mission in Iraq. I don't believe that any type of military force is a civilized way to resolve conflicts. Diplomacy should be the way to resolve conflicts.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  117. Greg

    How is having the members of the military speak different than other parents speak about their jobs on career day or bring your parent to school day? Our children learn through their experiences and also through the experiences of others. Whether those experiences are biased or not. The discussion that would be evoked through this exposure would be a learning experience. Whether particular students were for or against the war discussing their arguments would expose them to the other sides ideas. Education is not and can not be about only exposing students to non-controversial topics, Do we not want to teach the Holocaust because of the pain and suffering it caused? Or teach about slavery and the battle for civil rights? I understand parents wanting to limit their children's exposure because they want to be more in control of the "philosophy" the child adopts. But the simple fact is if parents were more involved with their child's education it wouldn't be a problem. Students should come home with what they learn and the family should discuss it at the dinner table. then the parents can put their spin on the Iraq War or sex ed or whatever else it is that is being taught in the schools. To not let veterans of the Iraq War speak at a school because it may be political is ludicrous. The popularity of the war is irrelevant and this sort of treatment to our armed service veterans is disrespectful.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  118. Brandon

    I agree with the nonpartisan group's efforts to educate the public, but how can you educate people who have already made up their minds to be ignorant?

    March 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  119. George Warmbrodt, KY

    Public School is not and should not be a platform for recruitment. There are many altenative venues for Veterans and other interested parties to promote or share their stories and ideologies.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  120. Rob

    Since when are schools obligated to only present what students and their parents are comfortable hearing? Rather than censorship, how about more open, honest, balanced discussions of topics that clearly have relevance to high school students today? I remember when I was in high school years ago, all the students were required to listen to a very pro-abortion presentation presented by some folks from Planned Parenthood. It happened to go against my personal beliefs and upbringing, but I don't think listening did any permanent damage. I wonder if those who are so opposed to seeing the military in our schools are equally concerned about groups with liberal political leanings coming into the classrooms and presenting their own forms of "brainwashing?"

    March 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  121. Michele Miller

    "Non-partisan" implies no agenda. In fact a presentation promoting the importance of "victory" in the Iraq and Afganistan is a partisan presentation. What is victory? That is the discaussion we should be having. A victory isn't the job of the military alone. A meaningful presentation would include numerous points of view.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  122. Brandon from Ohio

    Sometimes things can be generalized, and sometimes they are very circumstantial. In this instance the situation is very circumstantial. I agree with not allowing the vets to come in and talk to the kids, and here's why - because it's directly relating to an on-going war. If this was about vietnam or just military deployment, military life, etc., it would be fine, but when you've got war vets coming in with a biased view of an ongoing military conflict that's quite a loaded topic here at home, it's really not right to have biased individuals come in to speak to children.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  123. Rick McDaniel

    Basically, when the going gets tough, most people wimp out. Then they say the military is bad, because they have no stomach for losing a son or relative.

    Americans have gotten soft, lazy, and pretty much worthless.

    That's why all of our manufacturing is now gone, and we not only have no jobs, we have to buy sub-standard and even dangerous products, from China.

    America has become a third rate country.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  124. Rob G in Canada

    Jack, If the war was over sure let them come and speak, surely one shouldn't be allowed to basically spread propaganda on why the war is important while we are fighting the war.

    Reasoning is for before and after, during a war its just an excuse.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  125. Matt - Minnesota

    Considering the fact that these were vet's of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that most schools, including the one I attended in MN, allow military recruiters in the school, I have no problem with them telling their story. These guys were just going to tell what happened with them not do some propoganda for the gov't. I think that since these kids are the ones who are going to be signing up for service in the next few years it's only fair to let them hear from those who've been there. At least they got to tell their story to some of the students who really wanted to hear it. They ended up going to the local VFW and talking. Too bad this principal didn't want to "distract" his kids, they could have learned what is actually going on over there. This principal needs to get a back bone and not let Forest Lake become a new Berkley.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  126. Tom from Fair Haven NJ

    Fair and Balanced...that's what I say. If the Military wants to come in and talk about defending this country than another group should also be able to come in and talk about having no interest in defending this country.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  127. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Jack, how sad that an entire sector of this nation deems anything related to the Armed Services as "bad."

    Let's see if I understand the logic of this... teaching kids to roll condoms on cucumbers – good. Letting students interact with ACTUAL servicemembers who've been there and done these things FIRSTHAND (without a liberal media filter in place) – bad. Somedays, I'm happy my WWII-era Navy Veteran grandfather never lived to see sad days like these.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  128. Andrew


    I think that since public schools teach kids about our rights and freedoms, it is paramount that kids know who protects those rights and how. The military is what makes this country great, and barring them from the institutions they protect seems a little backwards to me. If these parents were worried about their children being recruited, maybe the best antidote for that is hearing some real war stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Palo Alto, CA

    March 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  129. April

    Dear Jack,

    My husband is active duty Air Force, our children attend a local community school which has about 3/4 students that are military....our children are either living with living veterans or their friends are. Why shield our children from what they are only seeing on the news media anyway? If we only allow our educators to tell the tale, the educator will sway the retelling by their own political views. Most veterans and active duty personnel are not and do not allow political views their own or those of their superiors to invade when speaking to friends, relatives or school children.

    What a disgrace to our military veterans to not allow them to share their stories and memories to our children. Who do we think will be fighting in our next war? And if we don't share the stories of war, and celebrate our heroes (other than some overpaid celebrity, but a REAL hero) who will our children look up to?

    Only the administrators of the school felt it was political, most children do not think this way but would have been honored to see these heroes visit them.

    April Hackelton

    March 26, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  130. Tim

    Heaven forbid educators foster earnest dialog about current events and other relevant issues these students will face.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  131. Brad from Kansas City, Missouri

    The particular group in Minnesota appears to have had an agenda, and was probably rightly dis-invited, but I would generally say individual soldiers should be allowed-
    I was invited to speak in both my sons' classrooms during school hours after returning from Afghanistan – didn't go in uniform however. Certainly didn't see it as a recruiting mission, but did want to share experiences and my interactions with Afghans. ( Spoke once after hours in uniform to a group at school as well )-
    I think vets offer can offer a first hand account of history to students that is invaluable; recruiting is fine, as long as it isn't disguised as something else.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  132. Christopher H Lee

    I'm all for having them in schools, just as long as we have both the gung-hos and the not-sos represented. These guys are selling a one-sided political message: "We need to be there." I know there are a lot of soldiers who don't agree. Why aren't they there too? That's why the parents objected.

    It's the veteran's group who made it political by only offering one side of the story.


    March 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  133. Paulina Gilbert

    Absolutely not – no – no – no! The same way the military should be OFF ALL high schools – particularly when the military recruitment offices target poor socio economic area schools.

    I notice the military recruiters don't go to the rich schools like La Jolla High School.

    This war-mongering has simply got to stop. We should be teaching peace and caring for ones fellow man. Taught how to get along, how to be compassionate and have decent ethics. I'm sick of war mongering and hate and evil actions.

    Enough ugliness for this beautiful country.


    March 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  134. Mike

    It would seem to me that a group, veterans or otherwise, who believed that we can achieve some form of "success" in Iraq and Afghanistan would be a partisan group. That being said, let's not assume our students aren't intelligent enough to decipher partisan points of view and instead expose them to all opinions.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  135. Aaron

    I served 13 monthes in Iraq and it would be great to teach the kids about service in the military. For example I was one of the first people to read a copy of the new Iraqi constituation, I witnessed people voting for the first times in the history of a country. Kids should know what a war zone is like the good and bad, the struggle for independence and democracy. The war is going better than what people in Berkely, CA have to say and worse than what Pres. Bush says. Kids and everyone should know the objective side of things. I've witnessed it and the lessons I have learned there are worth everyone hearing. Almost every solider I know would love to tell their story, it is a huge part of the world's history and it is awful that we have so much to share yet no one want's to hear it. How are we suppose to make educated decisions if weren't not allowed to discuss anything.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  136. Kathy

    No, they should not be allowed to speak to classroom audiences re the importance of winning in Iraq and Afganistan. It is a political discussion and should be announced ahead of time with the date, time and place posted for parents and children to attend if they want to do so. The classroom is not the place for this kind of discussion! The students cannot get up and leave if they don't want to listen to the presentation and they shouldn't be put in that position either!

    March 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  137. Ben

    I don't have a problem with veterans coming into the schools and telling the kids what they experienced. It is a valuable part of history. It is the experiences of these men and women that will help shape how history views what is currently going on. It is not about supporting or opposing the war. The fact is we are there and what these men and women have experienced should be heard by the public.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  138. Chris P

    It is amazing that anyone would not consider allowing the People who defend our very freedoms talk to our children. We allow crooked politicians, biased media, overpaid entertainers and other public figures to influence our childern in everyway. Yet, we aren't sure if we should allow the people who place their lives on the line everyday talk to them? These people put there lives on the line, do so for very little compensation.

    As far as a political agenda of this organization, Doesn't every politician, fund raiser (easter seals), and other not for profits have a political agenda? Yet we gladly allow them into our schools.

    I think you objection to this has more to do with your policial agenda against the war in Iraq.

    Case in point: Anne from Alington

    "Further, any educational institution hosting veterans should include voices of veterans who openly question the wisdom of the conflcts they were in and who challenge our government’s current military policies"

    March 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  139. Harold

    They are supported by "a nonpartisan group whose mission is to educate the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan". Just that makes me say no them.

    I am an 8 yr, 2 Iraq tour vet ,who will do everything in my power to keep my 2 kids out of the military. I am sick of our leadership that leads from behind and lies to us and puts these Soldiers in a position of talking about their life in the service. Does anyone actually think that they will talk about how their buddies were killed or lost a limb?

    This is a veiled recruiting program. This is just another name for HRAP (Hometown Recruiting Assistance Program) that young kids getting back from Iraq get to do in their hometowns for a month.

    How about we send Jenna Bush and her sister to Iraq for 15 months and they can come back and tell us about their experience.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  140. Stacy

    I'm a secondary high school history teacher and I teach about the military every chance I get. I discuss the sacrifices our troops and thier families make. I also make sure I never put our country down in any manner, I try to teach my students to be PROUD of being an American. I travel the world and for all the flaws of our government we still have it the best. I also include those who fought to defend our freedoms in all of the previous wars and how we stand alone in our struggle against the Middle East. We need to teach our military and to be PROUD Americans again.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  141. Sam Bethune


    I'm a military veteran and I think it's a good idea for students to learn what members of the armed forces do for our country, the mere fact that Vets for Freedom bills its mission as "educating the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan" at a time when we can't even agree as to what "success" means in Iraq suggests to me that this presentation was intended to be more political that educational.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  142. Jodi

    I'm a former history teacher and a pacifist as well. But the best way to teach history is through primary sources – first hand accounts of real life. I don't think talking to soldiers is appropriate for an elementary or even middle school, but by high school youth can ask questions and form their own opinions.

    As with all public speakers in a school setting, boundaries can be set before the talk begins. If you don't want it to get political, tell them. If you don't want them to discuss death, let them know. And then offer the other side, a peace maker if you want. Or don't.

    In the end, schools are largely a setting for training our children to become American citizens. If we deny them access to opinions that don't agree wtih ours, we are denying them a significant educational opportunity.


    March 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  143. Carlos

    Not when it's "sponsored by “Vets for Freedom”, a nonpartisan group whose mission is to educate the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan." That sounds political, even if the term 'nonpartisan" is put in there.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  144. mike studders, bay city, mi.

    jack, the military should be able to tell their story, that is military in uniform, that report to a chain of command. i am a veteran but my views are not shared by others who have served our country, hell i did not always share the opinions of soldiers i served with. this sounds too much like swiftboats to me. free speech above all but one sided discussion in the name of service to country is a disservice to public education...wars are hell and wars by executive fiat border on crime.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  145. Tim

    I live in Forest Lake MN. I have a child that goes to school in the district, albeit younger. I think this is a travesty. The group had agreed to leave part of their message at the door and not express opinions about the war but rather explain what they went through. They were dis-invited because the principal heard from a few parents and more importantly to him, a school board member stating that there would be reprisals if he allowed this presentation to occur. The wimp that he is, he buckled. He should have allowed the parents to protest outside the school if they wanted to. The comments made here about politics are equally frustrating. The school didn't want politics in the school but what have they done but create a politcal maelstrom? Boy Whining and complaining the liberal left has created a far greater story than ever would have been had the vets been allowed to speak. Funny, what they are defending is exactly what they were prevented from doing, speaking freely. What are we teaching our children? Finally, bravo to the 100+ kids that left school and went to the local legion hall to hear the vets speak and kudos to their parents for signing them out of school saying they were going to be "polictically indoctrinated."

    March 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  146. Ray in Minneapolis

    It wasn't just the parents who called and complained. There was also lots of pressure from liberal, pro-surrender groups like Code Pink.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  147. James

    The military is the reason we are in the schools that are in this country. What the heck has this world come too? There are many opinions in this world and the only ignorant ones are the opinions that keep other people from expressing theirs.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  148. Vlad

    It is ludicrous to complain about political pressure when the visit's topic was about the importance of success in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are political questions, and they correspond to a certain political agenda, and it does not matter that the group is bipartisan. I think it is proper that indoctrination is not allowed on the school's grounds.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  149. Lynn Summers

    I'm of the Viet Nam era, where the nightly news consisted of blood and gore. It didn't make me a monster or set me down the wrong path. If anything, I am more appreciative of what it costs to have freedom.

    Frankly, I am sick and tired of teachers and parents trying to raise a nation of coddled kids who have not one iota about what is happening in the rest of the world and who are so sheltered that their only thoughts are self-centered ones.

    Send the military into the school and let them talk without censure.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  150. Val

    I strongly believe that it is fine for the military to tell stories at schools.

    Haven't the media as well as some schools been pushing tolerance at school? I heard that schools invite gay/lesbian activists to preach at schools to talk about gay/lesbian awareness to push tolerance.

    If gay/lesbians can do that, then why can't the heroes of the US (US military), our brave men and women, can't preach about awareness as well? Why can't we implement or extend our tolerance to our men and women in uniform?

    If one can do but the other can't, isn't that double standard?

    God bless America.
    God bless the men and women in military.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  151. just another G.I.

    War is not glorious, and those who fight it rarely refer to it in such a way. But so much negative attention is given to the military and so much influence is put upon children by people who have no idea about what the military is really like. The military has given me many things, from a maturity level far beyond my years, to experience that has landed me a great job that I would never get coming right out of college. not to mention, if I can dedicate my life to defending children’s rights and privileges to schooling, then I think the least you could do is give me a chance to talk about it.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  152. Ben

    Would there be a problem if the veterans who were going to speak were veterans of WWII? As an educator I don't see what problem there would be in having veterans talk to kids about their experiences, as long as they weren't promoting the military and telling the kids to join up. My younger brother is fighting in Afghanistan right now and what he has told me about the war there is eye-opening to what is really going on. Nothing he says is politically oriented one way or another, he just tells it like it is, which is something our kids need to know.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  153. John Tucker

    Recruiters should be able to talk to students in the career center, but there should be a table next to them that is available for groups who want to give an alternative view of military service, or offer alternative careers or scolarships, or who listen to the promises of the recruiters to keep them honest.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  154. SSgt in North Carolina

    If America is embarrassed by it's military, maybe we should just hang up our uniforms and go back home to our families. America seems to forget that if it wasn't for the brave few that stood up and said "I will fight for my new country" that we would still be under British rule! People love to exploit the very freedoms that the military fights for! I guarentee that if the military just closed up and ceased to exist, it wouldn't be long before everyone would be begging for us to come back and restore order, peace, stability, the American way of life. Forest Lake Area High School should be ashamed of it's actions. Our veterans are our greatest treasure. We put our lives on the line so that you don't have to, and this is how we are thanked. I'll keep serving my country, fighting for your rights, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:50 pm |
  155. Kevin Pollelli

    I think it's great that vets would come in and teach students about themselves, the war conditions perhaps, there war stories, there courage
    and show the kids really what it means to be proud of what you do or what your represent.
    BUT saying all that i think where is gets ugly is
    "educate the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan"

    "the importance of achieving success", I dont think they should be shown exactly why it's important, they should be shown both sides of the picture, one not more emphasized than the other. The kids should be able to make there own decisions on if it's important or not.

    March 26, 2008 at 5:50 pm |