September 7, 2010
High school students and their families should be aware that military
recruiters will try to convince teenagers, of both genders, that
military service is like any other job.
Students, or their parents or guardians if they are minors, have the
right to "opt out" of solicitation by recruiters. They need to notify
the school office or sign a form saying they wish to remove their
name and data from lists which will otherwise be turned over to
military recruiters upon request.
Recruiters were given access to high school student data as part of
President George Bush's No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. Many school
districts give students only a few weeks after school starts to opt
out, and the policy notices sent out by schools at the beginning of
each year, in handbooks and letters, may be confusing, vague or not
Recruitment in schools raises many issues, among them the privacy
rights of minor children. But the greatest deception is equating
military service and probable deployment to a war zone with a job or
college education. A majority of soldiers eligible for the GI Bill
never use their full benefits.
Regardless of one's opinion about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
teenagers in high school should be left to study, learn and socialize
without pressure from military recruiters.
David Giffey, Arena, member, Veterans for Peace