For the first time, the Central Intelligence Agency has been continuing a special tutoring program for high school students.
In an effort to improve the agency's image among minority groups, CIA officials said yesterday, they have been providing computer specialist to tutor students at Ballou High in Southeast Washington.
Some parents and teachers of students at the school, who said the presence of the 10 CIA employes at Ballous was kept secret from then until recently, have begun a campaign to have the CIA tutors outsted.
Ballou has the District's best science and math students coming here for the Computer programs and we're feeding them to the CIA," said Marilyn Lerch, an English teacher at Ballou. "We want them out."
"We feel the risks involved . . . outweigh any positive effects . . . The risks include possible invasion of privacy of all the people working at Ballou and possible violation of their (CIA) charter by utilizing covert methods of recruitment," Lerch said.
Al Lipp, the CIA's career development officer, said that the CIA workers are not recruiting students. Lipp, who arranged for the team of CIA employees from the Computer Support Division to begin the tutoring program in February, said the CIA was invited to come to the school in a formal letter form Dr. Reuben Pierce, Ballou's principal.
Dr. Pierce said yesterday that some teachers and students at Ballou were introduced to the CIA employees at a job fair held last December.
"Our teachers asked the people (CIA workers) if there was any possibility of them coming out to the school," Dr. Pierce said. "Later we formally asked them to come out in a letter."
Although one CIA employee acted as a judge in a science fair at Woodson High School in Northeast Washington during this school year and presented a certificate to a prize winning student, the team of tutors at Ballou is the first group of CIA employees ever to go into a school on a regular basis, Lipp said.
Dr. Pierce said only one Ballou student has expressed interest in working for the CIA since the program began but he doesn't know if the student has made a job application at the agency.
Lipp said the December job fair at the CIA for 200 District high school students, was held because the agency is trying to increase its number of minority employees.
"We looked at the composition of the agency," he said, "to see where we didn't have minorities and found that in some science areas we didn't have many."
Lipp said the agency decided that its science sections didn't have many minorities because univesities with science schools were doing a bad job of recruiting minorities. "So we decided to put together a job fair," he said.
"Are we recruiting?" Lipp said when he was asked about the CIA's activities at Ballou. "We're not soliciting but if a kid asks us about a job we say here is the personnel number, give them a call or go down there.
"Are we running a clandestine action? No," he said. Lipp said the CIA computer specialists who tutor at Ballou are being paid by the CIA for some of their work at the school and the other time spent there was on a voluntary basis.
Dennis Berend, a CIA spokesman said the CIA is eager to have its employees participate in civic activities such as tutoring at Ballou. He said the CIA employees are helping the students to run computers and teaching them photogrammetry and photo science.
Photogrammetry is the use of photographs, often taken from a great distance, to measure distances between locations or objects.
Photo science is the use of chemistry and physics to see small objects that would normally not be visible in a photograph.
"We're proud of it (having CIA employees tutoring at Ballou)," said Berend. "It is nothing to hide. It is a source of pride for us to be able to help young people."
Berend said the CIA has no other "community outreach" programs, such as the one at Ballou at work in the Washington area.
Dr. Pierce, Ballou's principal, said the controversy at the school began last week when a group of teachers found out from their colleagues in the science department that the CIA tutors had been in the school since February.
"Everything was going well until the teachers started raising questions about the CIA being here," Dr. Pierce said. "It has been obvious to anyone involved with them from the start that they worked for the CIA. I haven't seen anything going amiss in the school because of them."
Dr. Pierce said Ballou faculty members were rude to CIA employees when a special meeting was held to discuss the CIA's presence at the school.
The principal said he later told parents about the CIA tutors at the school in another meeting and only five parents raised objections.
"They (the teachers) were accusing them of all sorts of things," Dr. Pierce said. "They said they (the CIA employees) couldn't have good intentions. One of the CIA people said he was a christian, not a spy, and the teachers called him a liar and said the agency had ulterior motives in sending them over here."
Dr. Pierce said more parents objected to the CIA tutors after the teachers raised the specter of full field investigations of students working with the CIA and the student's parents, family and friends.
"They (teachers) were a bit extreme," Dr. Pierce said. "Just to come in and work side-by-side with the CIA doesn't mean the CIA is going to do a field investigations on your child."
Dr. Pierce said teachers have charged that the CIA came into the school secretly but he said many other organizations have volunteered their time and employees to help students at the school without formal notification to parents and teachers.
The principal said he thought of the CIA no differently from the National Technical Association, which pays teachers overtime salaries for staying after school to help students, or the medical and engineering schools at Howard University, which work with students on weekends.
"My job is to open as many options as possible to students," said Dr. Pierce. "If someone decides to seek employment with the CIA, that is fine. If I were to hide the CIA away from my students that would be taking an option away from young people."
Lipp, of the CIA, said that because of the possibility of such fears and objections as those raised at Ballou the agency has in the past refrained from becoming involved in community affairs.