Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005 04:27 am
Stopping military recruiters
High schools required to release private student info to the Pentagon
If some predator was sneaking into your kids’ high school and grabbing personal information about them, then contacting your kids without your being told about it — how loudly would you scream at this dirty sneak? Well, it’s happening in schools all across America, and the predatory sneak is the Pentagon. In passing Bush’s infamous No Child Left Behind law, Congress added a little-known provision that makes this law even more infamous. It requires high schools to release private information about minors as young as 16 to military recruiters — without parents’ giving permission or even being informed. The information includes such sensitive data as grades, ethnicity, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, and cell-phone numbers. Already the Pentagon has built secret profiles on 30 million youngsters. This database allows recruiters for the four military branches to target, talk with, and hustle your kids into a war — again, without your consent or knowledge. Ready to scream? Hold it — you can do more than scream. The Pentagon doesn’t promote it, but the same law allowing this military intrusion into the privacy of minors includes an “opt out” provision that lets you keep your kids’ names out of the hands of recruiters. Three groups — Working Assets, Mainstreet Moms, and ACORN — have created an easy-to-use Web site for opting out. It’s LeaveMyChildAlone.org, and it helps you produce and send letters to both the Pentagon and your local high school. The letter to the Pentagon requires it to put any data it has about your kids into a “suppression” file, meaning that the data cannot be used and cannot go to recruiters. And the letter to your school requires it to remove your kids’ data from any list being released to recruiters.