As a new school year begins, we’d like to remind parents of their right to control the release of student information to military recruiters, colleges and others.
So-called “student directory information,” which includes things such as name, age and extracurricular activities, can be made publicly available under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) unless parents choose to “opt out” and withhold the disclosure of their child’s information.
Military recruiters may also obtain the names and contact information of high school students.
However, last year the Vermont Legislature passed a law that gives families separate “opt-out” rights. A family may tell a school it doesn’t want recruiters to get their student’s information, but it’s OK if others — such as colleges — do.
Before this Vermont law was passed, some schools told families “opting out” was an all-or-nothing proposition. You couldn’t say “no” to recruiters but “yes” to others. This is no longer the case. Schools must notify parents of their separate opt-out rights.
To exercise an opt-out right, a simple letter to the school principal or guidance counselor will do. Or, families can download an opt-out form from the ACLU Web site (www.acluvt.org) and submit that to the school.
The ACLU would like to know of schools that do not provide notice of these separate opt-out rights. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s important that students be aware of the range of opportunities available to them. But it’s also important that they be able to explore opportunities on their own terms, with their rights to privacy protected.
ACLU of Vermont
Archive for the ‘Student Privacy’ Category
The phone number for author of this story, Bill Zlatos, is listed at the end. Consider calling him to ask why no student, parent or member of a peace group is quoted in this article.
After a monthlong battle, the city school board adopted a policy Wednesday night that restricts military and other recruiters in schools.
In response to complaints about military recruiters by parents and peace groups, the board voted 8-1 to adopt five guidelines that take effect this school year, with school board member Mark Brentley dissenting.
The new rules do the following:
* Require recruiters to register with the principal or an administrator upon arrival.
* Require a district employee to escort recruiters around a school unless they can show proof of having state and federal clearances or a statement from their employer that they have such clearances.
* Prohibit them from sponsoring contests, drawings, lotteries or from exchanging gifts unless they are of scholarships or are of minimal value.
* Ban them from using exhibits that violate the district’s weapons policy or using video games that depict weapons or violence.
* Limit them to meeting students in areas designated by the principal.
It’s neat that the the school district, prompted by a counter-recruiting group, took the initiative on this. From News-Press.com:
Military recruiters will be relegated to high school career centers, and then they can only show up by appointment.
It’s a marked change in school policy from last year, when some high schools allowed military recruiters wide latitude in reaching out to students. At some schools, recruiters were allowed to set up tables in the cafeteria during lunch. Others limited access to the career center.
“Every school was doing things differently,” said Herbert Wiseman, the Lee County School District’s director of middle and high school operations. “The superintendent thought we needed to get everybody on the same sheet of music and develop a process document that everyone could follow.”
The new policy also covers recruiters for colleges and universities, employers and groups opposed to military recruiting, such as the Wage Peace Project.
Playing catch-up here with some of this news. From the Americus Times-Recorder:
A newly formed group, Peace Action Team (PAT) holds a forum from 7-9 p.m. Aug. 6 at Lake Blackshear Regional Library to discuss military recruitment in the area high schools. The event is free and open to the public; high school students and parents are encouraged to attend.
PAT is a group of concerned Christians who have come together in Americus to explore and implement ways of equality, peace and justice for all.
The forum will be facilitated by Christina Repoley, peace education coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The local PAT is collaborating with AFSC to develop ways to inform high school students and parents about the degree of access military recruiters have in the public schools and the methods often employed to entice students to enlist. The forum will also help equip those interested in working with the public schools and young people to counter military recruitment and find viable alternatives to military service.
A 20-minute video — “Before You Enlist!” — will be screened at the forum that documents the risks and misconceptions of military life, explores conscientious objection, selective service registration and U.S. militarism around the world.
PHOENIX (AP) — Activists against military recruitment in high schools are fanning out across the Phoenix area, handing out information to students telling them how they can get their names off recruitment lists.
On their first day of school Monday, students attending Phoenix’s North High School were greeted by activists carrying banners with messages such as “Opt out of the military.”
Some wore bright yellow signs around their necks picturing a “wrong way” street sign with the words “Keep ’em safe – bring ’em home,” while handing out forms to delete student names from the recruiting lists.
The activists are part of the Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, the Arizona Counter Recruitment Coalition, Parents Against Violence in Education and the End the War Coalition.
They handed out postcards for students to fill out and have their parents sign.
The cards would remove any contact information from a list that public schools have to provide to military recruiters.
“The Arizona Advocacy Network has been working to mobilize people to voice their opposition to the war. The majority of the American people want this war to be over,” said Linda Brown, one of the organizers of Monday’s effort.
In today’s political climate, with two wars being fought with no end in sight, it can be difficult for some people to understand why young folks enlist in our military.
The conservative claim that most youth enlist due to patriotism and the desire to “serve one’s country” is misleading. The Pentagon’s own surveys show that something vague and abstract called “duty to country” motivates only a portion of enlistees.
The vast majority of young people wind up in the military for different reasons, ranging from economic pressure to the desire to escape a dead-end situation at home to the promise of citizenship.
Over all, disenfranchisement may be one of the most accurate words for why some youth enlist.
From Alternet, by Aimee Allison:
A typical poster in the new Army Strong campaign shows three soldiers in full battle gear, faces grim and determined. The middle soldier is a woman.
More money than ever is being spent to convince girls to join the military. I was one of them. The promise of school tuition and job training was attractive to me at the time, but it was just a small part of what it meant to enlist in “this man’s army.”
To girls seeking a future, recruiters present themselves as a father/friend/guide. But as I, and many other girls discover, these confidants cannot be trusted. Girls become victims of sexual assault at the hands of recruiters even before they take their military oath of allegiance.
But this isn’t a story about a few unlucky recruits and a couple of sickos in an otherwise healthy recruitment process. There is a deeper problem of widespread abuse and a system that protects the criminals.
We tried to make this happen here in Austin when we asked for a policy limiting military recruiters. But the district’s legal counsel said that letting students opt-out exclusively from military recruiters would violate the No Child Left Behind Act. Good for them out there in Phoenix.
Kay Grams doesn’t want her 16-year-old daughter’s name going into a military recruitment database.
So last year, when the Tempe mother enrolled her daughter at McClintock High School, she was told she could ask the school to withhold her contact information from a list it gives the armed forces — but with a catch.
“I was told that by selecting that option, her name would also not be included on a list that goes out to colleges, a list for scholarships, even something with the yearbook,” Grams said.
But two weeks ago, the Tempe Union High School District governing board decided to accommodate parents like Grams. It voted unanimously to change a policy and allow teens to just “opt out” of the military contact, but still have their directory information passed on to colleges and universities.
Lexi Welch and Sarah Ybarra from Lawrence, Kansas have put together a film that takes a critical look at military recruiters in schools and the No Child Left Behind Act that enables them to access the personal information of high school students. This is the best article I could find on their work, despite its condescending sensational OMG-youth-doing-something-political lead.
While most kids their age are busy Facebooking, licking toads and getting into knife fights with greasers at the sock-hop (or whatever the hell it is that kids do these days), Lexi Welch and Sarah Ybarra are making their peers look even worse.
These two Lawrence High students aren’t wasting their youth all hopped up on goof-balls. They’ve accomplished something that even Hilary Duff couldn’t do—they made an important film.
“It’s a documentary about our school in particular and how the Army recruits, and how they get their information,” says 17-year-old Ybarra of her film, “No Child Left Unrecruited.”
What started as a project about advertising in school soon mushroomed into an investigative piece of Michael Moore proportions (he’s fat).
“I had gotten a letter over the summer from a recruiter who offered $100 to enlist with them,” recalls 18-year-old Welch. “We thought all of that could be advertisement…so we started asking questions and kind of put two and two together—military recruiters in school, getting letters at home. Our school told us that No Child Left Behind requires this.”
It turns out that a little known provision the Bush administration’s flagship domestic initiative requires federally funded schools to provide military recruiters—and, in fact, any third party who cares to shell out the $2 per directory—with the personal information of their students.
Trailer for the film below the jump.
The Army has asked Loudoun County public schools to distribute a survey to help identify students interested in the military, a proposal some parents contend would give the armed service an unfair recruiting edge over colleges and other career paths.
The brief survey, submitted to the School Board this spring by a Sterling-based recruiter, would ask students for contact information and whether they would like to learn more about the Army or Army Reserve.
Federal law requires public schools to provide contact information to the military for every high school junior and senior, unless parents choose to block the information. The law also calls for military recruiters to have the same access to students as college and career recruiters.
But some parents argue that the military, under pressure to sustain troop deployments in Iraq, is going too far in its quest to recruit students. Amid debate over the war, more parents across the country are asking school officials to clarify the federal law through local policies that create clear limits on military recruitment on campus.
Michelle Grise, a Leesburg mother, has formed a parents group to scrutinize school recruiting. She said the military should not get preferential treatment.
“We don’t allow colleges and other businesses who are recruiting to come in and pass out these surveys,” Grise said.
Her group wants to reduce the number of visits military recruiters can make to high school campuses and to confine their meetings to a career center. The group also seeks to have opt-out forms placed prominently in the student handbook. Currently, parents who wish to opt out must write a letter requesting that their children’s names not be released to the military, following instructions on Page 23 of the handbook.