Army recruiters are targeting schools in poorer areas in the wake of the Iraq war, Plaid Cymru claimed today.
The party said it had obtained figures under the Freedom of Information Act, showing that the Army was more likely to visit schools in deprived parts of Wales.
The Ministry of Defence denied the claim and said it only visited schools if invited.
Plaid said figures from the Army’s recruitment division for 2005-6 showed the most deprived schools were visited about 50% more often than the less deprived.
There were also regional variations, with schoolchildren in Swansea visited more than 10 times on average between January 2005 and May 2006. Schools in the Vale of Glamorgan were not visited once.
Plaid AM Leanne Wood has asked the Welsh Assembly Government to ban Army recruitment initiatives from schools.
She said: "The Army is clearly targeting the most deprived areas in Wales because numbers of soldiers are down – 14,000 left in 2005.
"I believe that young people in Wales should not be subjected to Armed Forces propaganda.
"Pupils should make up their own minds with all the facts to hand.
"I want the Education Minister to stop Army recruitment in schools. If pupils want to join the Army, they can visit any number of recruitment centres around Wales."
An MoD spokesman said: "The Army visits schools on a specific invitation- only basis.
"The status of a school isn’t an issue. The same opportunities are available to all.
"The Army doesn’t recruit in schools. It seeks to raise awareness of the Army and its place in a democratic society while building interest in the Army and its careers."