Leave my child alone!
As youth ages 16-18 return to school, they and their parents need to know that the Pentagon and military recruiters collect information on both boys and girls, from their schools to aide them in recruiting. Here is some important information regarding the process.
If youth or their parents don't want to be targeted, recruited or have their names in Pentagon or military recruitment databases, they can Opt Out of the system but they must take proactive action to Opt Out.
Some school districts limit the time frame to make select this option and it often occurs during the registration period. Accordingly, time is of the essence if you or your youth don't want your name in government databases.
An excellent website is www.leavemychildalone.org Here is some information from their FAQ page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find the actual military recruiter provision in No Child Left Behind?
The requirements are contained in Section 9528 of PL-107-110, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (codified in 20 USC 7908):
What is the difference between the school district Opt Out and the Pentagon (JAMRS) database?
The provision in the No Child Left Behind Act that requires schools to hand over students' contact information and the Pentagon JAMRS database are entirely SEPARATE. Schools give the information directly to military recruiters, but the Pentagon is independently compiling its own database of young people.
In order to get your child's name off of the list given to recruiters, and also out of the JAMRS database, you will need to fill out, sign, and mail two separate forms: one for your school, and one for the Pentagon.
To create both of these opt out letters in just a few minutes, please click here
Is Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act the same as registering for "Selective Service"?
Student information turned over in accordance with Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act is NOT the same as the information provided by adult males who register with Selective Service.
Only males between 18 and 25 are required to register for the draft (Selective Service), while NCLB's Section 9528 provides recruiters with contact information for secondary school students of both genders. Also, Section 9528 provides information to recruiters about minor children without their parents -- express permission.
We believe that governmental entities should not be contacting minor children without their parents' express permission, and that the decision to voluntarily conscript should not be undertaken without parental involvement.
Are children below the age of 16 placed on these military recruitment lists?
Here's information on both the lists generated by No Child Left Behind and the Pentagon:
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: The military recruiter provision in the No Child Left Behind Act applies to secondary school students, regardless of their age. The definition of secondary schools in some states refers to junior high schools as well as high schools, so we recommend that you check with your local school district to find out when you should submit an Opt Out letter for your child.
PENTAGON: As for the Pentagon database (which collects information from sources other than schools and is separate from the school Opt Out), you can wait to submit the JAMRS Opt Out form until your child is sixteen. It probably wouldn't hurt to submit a form now, but it is not necessary (they move the information of young people who have opted out to a "suppression file" -- but if your child is under 16 then his/her information should not yet be in the database). You may want to contact the Pentagon directly to find out what would be the best course of action. The phone number for the Pentagon Public Affairs Office is 703/428-0711. You can also find out more about the Pentagon JAMRS database at www.jamrs.org
Does it apply to both girls and boys?
Yes, the military recruiter provision applies to both girls and boys.
How can I find out if my child's information has already been turned over to military recruiters?
To find out if your child's information has already been provided to military recruiters, you should contact your child's school directly.
How many times do I have to submit an Opt Out letter to my school?
Some schools allow you to submit a letter once, and some require you to submit one each year, so we recommend that you check with your district to find out what their policy is.
If I opt my child out of my school's military recruitment list, will they also be opted out of contact from colleges and prospective employers ( "blanket opt out" policy)?
Policies on opting out your child vary from district to district, from non-existent to very effective. Of those school districts that have an opt out policy, many allow children to separately opt out of being contacted by specific groups (such as colleges, potential employers, or military recruiters).
However, school districts sometimes state that opting out of military recruiter contact also means that the school will not release information to other potential contacts (schools, scholarships) or that the student's name won't be included in the school directory or yearbook. This is commonly called a "blanket opt out" policy.
While legal, the "blanket opt out" policy effectively penalizes students/families for their decisions to opt-out of military recruitment lists. Fortunately, this punitive policy can be changed with ample community pressure from parents and other concerned citizens.
The Leave My Child Alone campaign recommends that districts offer a '"stand-alone opt-out form" --- where students can opt out from information disclosure to the military, but not to other groups. As a result of the Leave My Child Alone campaign and the efforts of local citizens and parents, several school districts across the country have eliminated this policy and now allow students to opt out of the military recruitment list separate from other lists. One very increasingly popular policy advocated by parents is including opt out information on the school's Emergency Card (click here to see an example).
If your school district has a "blanket opt out" policy, please consider lobbying your school board to adopt a stand-alone Opt Out form and encourage them to support "Optimum Opt Out" policy and implementation.
You can find good policies (including stand-alone opt out forms) that other districts have adopted at: http://www.themmob.org/lmca/goodpolicies.html
Find out how to "Adopt a School Board" at: http://www.themmob.org/lmca/adopt.html
Are private schools subject to the military recruiter requirements?
Private secondary schools that receive funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are subject to this requirement. However, private schools that maintain a religious objection to military service are not required to comply with this law. Thus, applicability of these requirements will vary based on each private school's situation. If you have any questions about the applicability of these requirements to your particular school, please contact your school administration directly.
What if my child is home-schooled?
If the local school district has your child's contact information, then they may release that information to the military. Your local school district may have your contact information even if your child is not enrolled, especially if your child tests through the district or is registered with the district to obtain a GED or high school diploma equivalent.
The military can also get information for its non-school-based, Pentagon database through DMV records, consumer data, and other sources. You can find out more information on the Pentagon database here.
Does Section 9528 apply to community colleges?
Our site is configured for parents of high school students, but community colleges are also required to release student information to recruiters, and some other colleges release information as well. Because college students are (almost always) of the age of majority, students should be able to opt themselves out of these lists. Unfortunately, we don't have the capacity to list college administrators on our site -- it's probably best for you to contact the college administration directly and find out about their policies and how to opt out.
Will contacting the Pentagon result in my child ?s name being added to their JAMRS database?
It is probably safe to assume they *do* have your child in the database. It's got 30 million records -- that's a huge percentage of the 16-25 year olds in the country. Consider that this database is set up to help them recruit. If you don't want your child to be recruited, it makes economic sense for them to want to take his/her name off it.
We've had several conversations with the Pentagon officials and they have assured us that if you send in our Opt Out form, your record will be removed from their database (and moved to a "suppression file"). In fact, we designed the form to meet the Pentagon's requirements, and they signed off on it.
If you want to check to make sure that your child's name has been removed from the list, you can contact:
Captain Moe Brown
Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies Office (JAMRS)
Attention: Opt Out
4040 North Fairfax Drive, Ste. 200
Arlington, VA 22203
For more information on the Pentagon database, please click here.
Where can I find more info about the Student Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 551)?
Besides our online petition, a good source for information on federal legislation is the Thomas website, a service of the Library of Congress ( http://thomas.loc.gov/). You can also contact any of the bill sponsors for information on H.R. 551.
Where can I get more information on these military recruiter requirements?
You can contact the federal government's Family Policy Compliance Office at FERPA@ED.Gov or http://www.ed.gov/offices/OM/fpco. The FPCO's phone number is 202-260-3887. Or, you can write to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
Is your campaign anti-military?
The Leave My Child Alone campaign focuses on one simple issue: should public high schools turn over private contact information of minor children to military recruiters without explicit written permission from parents. Among those who support our campaign are current and retired military service members who are proud of their service to their country and indeed fought to protect the privacy rights and freedoms which we seek to defend. We support our troops, but we do not support recruiters visiting or calling children at their homes without explicit written permission from their parents.
What more can I do?
If you feel strongly about preserving family privacy and protecting children from unwanted military recruitment, we have some bite-sized actions that will make a difference:
Host an Opt Out event (a gathering of any kind, like a house party or meetup) to talk about this important campaign and watch the Leave My Child Alone DVD. You can find a Host Kit and other Leave My Child Alone materials here.
Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers and/or to your local legislators.
Bring some friends and pass out opt-out forms at your high school's parents' night.
Attend the next local school board meeting, and make sure your district is educating parents about their ability to opt out.
Set up a table outside on the first day of school, and give opt-out forms to students to bring home to their parents.
Even if you don't have time for these bite-sized actions, you can help out by spreading the word to parents, grandparents, teachers and anyone else you know who is concerned about student privacy.
I want to talk to someone who understands military recruitment issues and the challenges of raising awareness about opting out in my state or community. Can you direct me to a real person nearby?
There are several web sites (see below) that provide localized resources for parents concerned about military recruitment and opt out issues. Two excellent resources are the local contacts provided by the American Friends Service Committee and Veterans for Peace.
If you're looking for someone working on these issues in your state, check out AFSC's Youth and Militarism contact list or VFP's Recruiter Education Contacts for phone numbers and e-mail addresses. You may be able to find someone in your state or perhaps even in your neighborhood. Remember, many of these folks are volunteers and very busy just like you, so please be considerate of their time.
What other organizations are working on helping parents opt out their children from military recruitment lists?
There are many organizations across the country working on helping kids stay off military recruitment lists. A Google search will yield several results. You can also explore the web sites of some of our campaign partners specifically focused on military recruitment issues:
American Friends Service Committee
Coalition Against Militarism in our Schools
Student Peace Action
Veterans for Peace
If I can't find an answer to my question here, where can I find an answer?
If your question is not sufficiently answered by our FAQs above, please contact us. We'll do our best to answer your question promptly.
Thanks for everything you are doing to protect the privacy of children in your community.
Effective October 14, 2005
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