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‘Access Denied’ at Albuquerque High?

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December 7, 2007

Albuquerque, NM – After getting permission to set up an information table at Albuquerque High School, a local grassroots group was turned away yesterday. Members of the Southwest Organizing Project had arranged to set up a table during the lunch hour to discuss with students alternatives to military service. But SWOP's Emma Sandoval says they were told to go home following a Thursday newspaper article about some parents' dissatisfaction with military recruitment at the school. Sandoval believes the school district should stand by its "equal access" policy.

"Allow our organization, and others like us, to get a positive message out there to young people. We're not asking for military recruiters to leave. We're just asking that we be given an opportunity to show both sides of the fence."

Sandoval says SWOP had already worked for several months with the school district to get permission to speak with students about alternatives to joining the military.

"We just want students to know that there are other opportunities out there for them. Regardless of their economic, race or class status, they have other options besides joining the military."

Albuquerque High School Principal Tim McCorkle says he was unfamiliar with the group and its' request to set up a table, and that he wasn't available when the organizers showed up at the school but Sandoval explains SWOP received permission from the district earlier this year to distribute literature at area high schools, including A.H.S.

Eric Mack/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NM