1. Regarding “Opt-Out” legislation codified in ESSA Sec. 8025: We demand all parents be required to fill out a form that seeks their consent before information about their children is released by the school to military recruiters.
The military collects the names, addresses, and phone numbers of our children from the local high schools. However, the law says parents have the right to “opt-out” from having their child’s information sent to recruiters. High schools are supposed to tell parents they have this right, but many fail to do so. Consequently, many parents don’t know what’s going on, while the Pentagon collects their child’s information.
Parents must be afforded the right to say they don’t want their child’s information given to the Pentagon.
Consider these points:
a. Federal law requires schools to release the names, addresses, and numbers of all high school students to military recruiters. See Section 8025 of the Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA). b. Parents have the right to “opt-out” in writing from having their child’s information sent to military recruiters. c. Schools are supposed to notify parents they have the right to opt out. d. The law is weak. A single notice provided through a mailing, student handbook, or other method is sufficient. Consequently, most parents aren't aware there’s an easy way to opt-out of having their child’s info sent to recruiters. e. Most schools do a lousy job informing parents of the right to opt out. Many school systems have a single “opt-out” form that is online or part of a student handbook. f. Maryland is the only state to have a law that requires all parents to complete the opt-out form. See the Maryland law here: Ch 105 Education 7-111(C) g. Here’s an example of Maryland's law in practice. h. We must make the process of opting out mandatory for all parents.
2. Regarding the circumvention of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) by the military in its administration of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) in the nation’s high schools - and the resulting violation of student privacy:
We demand the passage of a state law that mandates the universal selection of ASVAB Release Option 8 for all students who take the military’s enlistment test in Utah’s public high schools. Release Option 8 means parents must give their written consent before test results are used for recruiting purposes.
Consider these points:
a. The ASVAB is the military’s 3-hour enlistment exam. b. About 700,000 students in 12,000 high schools now take the ASVAB across the country every year. c. 9,303 students took the ASVAB in Utah during the 2013-14 school year. d. Just 7.7% Utah students took the test under Option 8. That figure is 20% nationally. e. Military regulations say the primary purpose of the ASVAB “Career Exploration Program” is to find leads for recruiters. f. The ASVAB provides coveted information the Pentagon cannot purchase or find on social media regarding the cognitive abilities of kids. g. The ASVAB also collects social security numbers, a practice prohibited by many state laws. h. The military proctors the test with the assistance of school staff. If the schools gave the ASVAB, the results would be deemed to be educational records and thus, subject to FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal law that calls for parental consent before information on children is released to third parties. i. Unless you live in Maryland, Hawaii, or New Hampshire, ASVAB results are the only student information leaving your state's classrooms without parental consent. j. See the Maryland law here. It’s immediately after the opt-out law. Ch 105 Education 7-111(C) k. Students in nearly 1,000 high schools across the country were required to take the ASVAB while others were encouraged to do so during the 2013-2014 year. According to the Pentagon, no schools in Utah forced children to take the test. l. To prevent testing information from reaching recruiters, schools must tell the military before the test that “ASVAB ReleaseOption 8” must be used for ALL the students who are tested. Option 8 means the military can’t use the results to recruit kids. m. See the military regulation here. n. Schools select release options, not parents. o. Many states allow high school students who fail mandated exit exams to take the ASVAB as an alternative assessment.
3. Regarding the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps – JROTC Programs operating in Utah’s High Schools:
We demand the establishment of a state-funded study to analyze the content of JROTC textbooks, particularly for historical accuracy and political bias.
We demand all JROTC instructors hold four-year college degrees and have satisfied Utah teacher licensing requirements before they’re allowed to instruct students in the state’s schools.
We demand an immediate closure of in-school firing range activities across the state until lead testing is performed. Said testing must involve taking floor samples at the muzzle end of the rifle and at the target backstop. Testing should also involve analyzing air samples during and after shooting sessions to ascertain air lead levels.
We demand an immediate cessation of the use of lead projectiles by the JROTC program, whether students participate in marksmanship activities on campus or off campus.
a. JROTC programs exist in 3,402 high schools nationwide – 65% of them in the South – with a total enrollment of 557,129 students. b. JROTC textbooks teach a reactionary brand of U.S. history and government, while classes are often taught by military retirees with no college education. Meanwhile, every other UT classroom teacher typically must be certified and hold a Masters after a few years. c. The unit on citizenship is entitled, “You the People.” d. Students should never be placed in JROTC classes without parental consent. e. Many states allow students who take JROTC to also satisfy P.E. credits. f. The Pentagon embraces the seductive power of the trigger as a recruiting device. Realizing the potential, the military exploits video games and weaponry to recruit and cultivate adolescent killers. g. 2,400 high schools have marksmanship programs affiliated with JROTC and the congressionally-chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program. The kids regularly attend tournaments hosted by the NRA. h. Schools allow shooting to occur during school hours in classrooms and gyms that are contaminated by .177 cal. lead pellets fired from CO2 air rifles at 600 fps. i. Lead fragments become airborne and are deposited on the floor at the muzzle-end and at the target backstop. Kids track the lead throughout the school. Loose enforcement of regulations creates a health hazard for students and custodial staff.
4. Regarding the Access Military Recruiters enjoy to our children in Utah’s schools:
We demand that military recruiters never be allowed to be alone with children in Utah’s public schools.
We demand that Utah allow the placement of reputable counter-recruitment literature wherever recruiting information is found.
We demand that schools stop allowing military recruiters to volunteer for various positions in the high school, like coach’s assistant or weight room coach.
We demand that high school students in Utah be allowed to enjoy lunch without the presence of military recruiters.
Consider these points:
a. Federal law says military recruiters are to have the same access to kids as college recruiters – not greater access. Military recruiters may eat in the cafeteria while college recruiters meet with select kids in the guidance office. Military recruiters also perform dozens of volunteer tasks in the schools. b. Rely on counter-recruitment information from NNOMY (National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth) and Project YANO (Project on Youth and Non-military Opportunities) c. Make sure recruiters are not regularly occupying guidance offices. d. Federal courts have ruled you have the right to counter the message of recruiters in the schools!
3. Get counter-recruitment information into your schools. Make sure everything you propose is factually correct. Ask that literature racks and posters with alternative information be placed in school wherever military recruitment information is on display. Check out Project YANO’s page on Literature and Resources.
4. Present Counter-Recruitment Information during career fairs: Ask career counselors to invite a group to counter the military’s message or see if you can set up your own information table with reliable information.
5. Keep your contact information from recruiters and help others to do the same. Let your school and your parents know that you do not want your name, address and number released to recruiters and that you want to opt out at the beginning of the school year before the lists are released. Your school should have a military recruiter opt-out form. If not, you can download one from www.projectyano.org. Educate other students and parents about their right to opt out.
6. If the ASVAB is to be given at your school, insist that the test is voluntary and that student information is not released to recruiters. The ASVAB is the military’s aptitude test and is given in half of the high schools in the country so that recruiters can obtain test data and personal information on students. In order to prevent the information from automatically being given to recruiters, your school must tell the military in advance that “ASVAB Release Option 8” must be used for ALL the students who are tested. (The school decides whether student information will be shared with recruiters – not kids or parents! Most schools release information to recruiters.)
7. Counter visits from recruiters: This is when activism takes guts. It’s helpful to have your parents’ support:
Stand next to recruiters and hand out truthful literature.
Express symbolic opposition by having a student stand silently next to the recruiters dressed as the grim reaper.
Demand recruiters are never allowed to be with students while unsupervised.
Surround military recruiters when they sit for lunch in the cafeteria. Are military recruiters allowed to with children in Complain to your principal and school board.
Call other schools and the school board to determine recruitment policies.
Organize a campaign for the school district to adopt a policy to regulate all
recruiting activities, like the one adopted in 2010 by San Diego Unified.
8. Investigate JROTC:
Find out if marksmanship training is given and, if so, whether shooting ranges are present in schools.