Opt-Out

Fall Opt-Out Campaign - Volunteers still needed

Buried deep within the No Child Left Behind Act is a provision that requires public high schools to hand over private student information to military recruiters.
The purpose of this invasion of family privacy is to allow minor students to be recruited at home by telephone calls, mail and personal visits. If a school does not comply, it risks losing vital federal education funds.

The only way to keep your children's contact information from military recruiters is to submit an "opt-out" letter in writing to your school district's superintendent.

Section 9528 -- this little-known provision of the No Child Left Behind Act -- was originally inserted into the bill by Rep. David Vitter of Louisiana, with almost no debate in Congress. Vitter included this provision after learning from the Pentagon that many public schools maintained strict privacy policies protecting student information from being released to any outside parties, thus preventing aggressive military recruiting.

In addition, the Pentagon also recently set up a database of 30 million 16-25-year-olds, including name, address, email addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicity, social security numbers and areas of study. This Pentagon database is updated daily and distributed monthly to the Armed Services for recruitment purposes.

Each year we place volunteers at school registration events to distribute opt-out forms and inform students and their parents about their rights to opt-out of having their personal information released to military recruiters.  We are still in need of volunteers for all of these events.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact us.  Below are all of the available times and places for volunteer shifts.

Wednesday, August 20
Benson High School

546 N.E. 12th
Junior Registration:  9:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
(Volunteer should be in place at 9:30 a.m.  We can probably get done by 11:00 a.m.)

Tuesday, August 19
Franklin High School

5405 S.E. Woodward
Senior Registration:  1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
(Volunteers should be in place by 12:30 p.m.  We should be done by 2:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, August 20
Franklin High School

5405 S.E. Woodward
Junior Registration:  1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
(Volunteers should be in place by 12:30 p.m.  We should be done by 2:00 p.m.)
Current volunteers:  Cherie H., Joanne L.

Friday, August 22
Grant High School

2245 N.E. 36th Avenue
Juniors and Seniors pickup schedules:  8:00 a.m. - noon
(Volunteers should be in place by 8:00 a.m.  We should be done by 11:30 a.m.)

 

Fall Opt-Out campaign report back from Roosevelt High School

The fall "Opt-Out" campaign is in full swing and we have a report-back from how it went at Roosevelt High School this past week.  For those who don't know about the opt-out campaign, here is some brief background.  The No Child Left Behind Act requires high schools to share student information with military recruiters. However, there is a provision where students and parents can opt-out of sharing this private information by filling out a form and submitting it to the school.  The opt-out campaign is an effort to educate students and their parents about this information sharing and to provide them with the necessary form.

DAY ONE, SHIFT ONE, OF OPT-OUT CAMPAIGN, 9/13/2012: Roosevelt High School. Two volunteers can usually be kept steadily busy, but not frantically so, engaging youth about Opt-Out at Roosevelt. Roosevelt is one of PPS' smaller high schools and still operates under the small school model with three academies. Roosevelt is a high school with a very diverse student population in the St. John's neighborhood. It is an at-risk high school.  Roosevelt students, for the most part, are very polite. Families and staff at Roosevelt tend to be supportive. There were a lot of "terrifics" and thumbs-up from adults who asked what we were doing. Because the student population is financially-stressed, this is a school whose students are very vulnerable to the "poverty draft."

Two stories that show how rewarding the work can be:

1. There was a group of six young men heading towards school (probably juniors and seniors). Forms in hand, I started to talk to them while walking alongside them and they were half-listening. (It's 7:30 in the morning.) One of the young men was more than half-listening, because when I got to the part of, "If you DON'T want your personal information released to the military," he interrupted, "I've been looking for that form!" His peers then stopped in their tracks and said, "What form? To do what?" All six youth took a form, which they will hopefully be completing and handing in to the school secretary by October 1. One youth, already familiar with Opt-Out forms from previous Recruiter Watch (and allies) campaigns, convinced his peers that the form was something they should be interested in.

2. There was a group of five young men chatting across the street from the high school. I approached them with forms in hand. One youth took the form. One said he did not care. One youth said he was enlisting. Volunteers also have on hand the AFSC's "Questions to Ask Military Recruiters -- and the Answers They Should Give You.' I told the youth that if he was considering enlisting, here are some questions he should probably think about to make an informed decision. He was willing to take the "Questions." Then he started to play 17-questions with his peers, using the questions to ask military recruiters. They were trying to see whether they already knew the answers and were somewhat dismayed to find out how many they were getting wrong! One youth, considering joining the military, wound up educating his peers about the fine-print of the military enlistment contract!

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