Most Manatee County School Board members, under the advocacy of Superintendent Roger Dearing, are unwilling to distribute “Opt Out From the Military Recruiters” forms to students when high schools open on Monday.
Coalition of Concerned Patriots members have appeared monthly for three years at meetings, pointing out the need for making opt-out forms available to students.
Why? The No Child Left Behind Act requires that the names, addresses and phone numbers of all high school students be turned over to military recruiters, unless their parents/guardians tell schools, in writing, that they’re opting out. Collier, Lee and Pinellas counties distribute opt-out forms. Manatee and Sarasota counties continue to drag their feet.
Our coalition invites people to become involved so students’ personal information is not automatically given to the military. This will happen unless an opt-out form is submitted in writing to the appropriate high school principal by Sept. 15.
A sample letter is at www.manatee.k12.fl.us under “Hot topics” but it is not a form that can be downloaded and completed. Dearing and a School Board majority made it clear at the board’s meeting Thursday that no form will be distributed when schools open.
For many students badgered by recruiters, this could be a life and death issue if they’re deployed for war. Without the opt-out form, consequences may be dire. It’s time for the Manatee County School Board to distribute the forms. Let Dearing and the School Board know. Call 708-8770!
The writer is co-chairman of the Coalition of Concerned Patriots. He resides in Bradenton.