A coalition of students, teachers, union members, civil liberties lawyers and activists formed the "Students or Soldiers?" Coalition to deal with the issue of military recruiters in our schools. We won a huge victory: We got the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in the country to pass one of the most progressive policies in the country limiting what military recruiters can do in our schools (Chancellor's Regulation A 825).
But many schools are not protecting students' privacy or providing the guidance required by this policy (and that students need to make informed decisions). Few school staff members, students and parents are even aware of its existence, and few activists are using it effectively.
Basically it says:
1. What military recruiters can and can't do
2. What schools are required to do to protect students' privacy and keep recruiters in line.
What military recruiters can and can't do
Military recruiters have to be given the same access to schools as college or job recruiters. But equal access is not preferential access. They must be assigned a place to go and they must stay there. They cannot wander the halls or hang out in the cafeteria or the gym. They are NOT allowed to use classroom time for recruiting. Their posters, brochures etc can only be posted the same way that college materials are posted, not plastered all over the school.
What schools are required to do
Schools are required by law to give a list of 11th & 12th grade students' names, addresses and phone numbers to recruiters. But schools are also required to give every 9th-12th grade student an "opt-out" form so that they can get their name and information taken off that list. Every high school student and parent is supposed to get this form every Fall.
One of the most common mistakes that schools keep making is to tell students that only parents can sign an opt-out form. This is WRONG!!! Chancellor's Regulation A825 is very clear: ALL STUDENTS FROM 9TH-12TH GRADES CAN SIGN FOR THEMSELVES. Parents can sign too, but their signature is NOT required.
If a school gives the Armed Services Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test the principal is REQUIRED to select "Option 8: No release of information." this means that the student and the school can get the results but the military recruiter isn't allowed to see them. This is to protect student privacy and to keep the recruiters from getting around the rule protecting students who opted out.
The principal is required to appoint a "point person" to make sure these rules are being followed and to have a written policy about how the school is implementing these rules.
The principal is also required to make sure that there is someone who can provide guidance on issues related to military recruitment and higher education. Most schools have guidance counselors who know about college, but how many have people who know enough about the pros & cons of joining the military (especially the parts recruiters leave out) to really help students make an informed decision?
What you Can Do
If there is anything on this list that your school isn't doing, you can:
* Print out a copy of the Chancellor's Regulation and show it to your principal.
* File a complaint with the Department of Ed. This is really important, because since so few people know about the regulation, very few complain. So the DoE thinks there aren't any problems.
* Inform your fellow students that they can (and should) sign their own opt out form.
* Get your guidance counselor to get informed about the military by checking out this FAQ. Then get them to keep a supply of flyers that tell the truth about joining the military, not just what the recruiters say.
* Let us know what's going on so we can get it fixed. Contact us at 212 239-0022 or email@example.com.
School Policies in other Cities:
Abstract: “MILITARY RECRUITING: DOD and Services Need Better Data to Enhance Visibility over Recruiter Irregularities” US Government Accountability Office, Report to Congressional Requesters, August 2006. Full report available at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d06846.pdf
“Military recruiting violations rise: GAO”, Washington Post, 8/14/06
“AP Probe Looks at Recruiter’s Misconduct” Associated Press, Aug. 20, 2006
“Army Recruiters Accused of Misleading Students to Get Them to Enlist” ABC News
Letter from Senator Barbara Boxer
National School Boards Association Articles:
“Some School Leaders Say Military Recruiters Have Too Much Access”
“School Boards Are Refining Policies on Military Recruiters on Campus”
“NCLB Requires Schools to Provide U.S.Military Recruiters with Students’ Names and Contact Information”
Seattle Recruiter Access Policy
Austin Recruiter Access Policy
LASUD Recruiter Access Policy
Rochester Recruiter Access Policy
Tucson Recruiter Access Policy
Puerto Rico Recruiter Access Policy
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision on Equal Access for Counter Recruiters
Seattle Equal access for Counter Recruitment Policy
Military Enlistment Contract
No Child Left Behind Act, Section 9528
US DOE/DOD Directive on Release of Student Information to Recruiters
Montgomery County ASVAB Regulation
What Every Educator Should Know About Military Recruiters in Our Schools
Sample Opt Out FAQ’s