Since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, schools in America have been required to give students’ personal information to military recruiters unless a student’s parents specifically state otherwise. In matters of consumer information congressional majorities have declared that adults must have privacy by default, opting in to any credit or information-sharing program. When it comes to military databases, however, parents have to take action to opt their kids out. Under the same Act, schools are legally required to notify parents they can opt their children out, but some schools have decided to do so only nominally, posting notice on the internet and leaving it at that. When parents are forced to actively find notice that they can opt out of having their kids’ personal information go to the military, that makes the likelihood of non-disclosure doubly doubtful.
Leave My Child Alone has implemented an ongoing effort to coax schools into actively including an opt-out form as part of the yearly emergency contact form parents receive in the mail. Peace Action New York and the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft provide materials educating peace activists about their legal right to provide information in schools wherever military recruiters are offered the same access (New York peace activists had to go to court to affirm that right).
On a personal level, Mom and Dad, remember that you have to opt your kids out every year in order to avoid the onslaught of military recruiters’ calls and visits. Now’s the time to fill out those forms if you’re so inclined. For parents who cannot find their school’s opt-out form, the American Friends Service Committee offers their own printable opt-out form for parents to submit.