District OKs restrictions on campus recruiting 

In a packed house of approximately 200 residents, the San Mateo Union High School District board agreed Thursday to limit the number of visits allowed for on-campus recruiters to one visit per month per school.

The district voted 3-1 to approve the recruiting policy, which stemmed from complaints in January from a local activist group called Peace Action of San Mateo County, which wanted military-recruiting visits limited to three a year per school.

The district board, which met at the San Mateo Adult Resource and Technology Center, 789 E. Poplar Ave., plans to revisit its decision in six months.

Board members have said the policy is aimed at establishing guidelines for general campus visits, including recruiters from colleges and private companies, and not meant to limit the military’s ability to recruit.

Between 2002 and 2006, recruiters from the Army, Navy, National Guard and Marines visited Aragon and Mills high schools twice a month while the Air Force visited once a month. At Capuchino High, recruiters visited five times a year. At San Mateo High, recruiters visited once a month.

Sgt. 1st Class Brian Knott, station commander of Army recruiting in Belmont, said the effects of a new policy would be negligible. He said last year, one high school senior within the district was recruited, compared with about 15 a year in other districts. Instead, recruiters in San Mateo County focus on college campuses and parking lots.

Since 2002, 114 students in the county have been recruited through military visits, according to a district report. At 25, Capuchino High topped the list with the highest number of recruited students, followed by 24 at Aragon High.

The district’s policy also would require recruiters and solicitors to be confined to a certain area of each campus.

Mike Caggiano, president of Peace Action of San Mateo County, said he supports the policy. However, he said he had hoped it would also require that military recruiters issue parental notifications in advance.

District Superintendent Sam Johnson said that he was contacted by the College of San Mateo, which opposed the measure.

bfoley@examiner.com

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