Opinion: Military Recruiters Are Violating Your Privacy, Here’s How You Can Fight Back

A table sat by the lunchroom on February 21st. It was decorated with books, pictures of soldiers, and an eye-catching red cloth.

Emblazoned on the cloth in yellow were the words “U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Service”

I walked up and introduced myself as a student journalist, inquiring as to whether I could ask the recruiter some questions. “No, actually I can’t answer any questions for a journalist,” he replied.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed by president Obama in 2015, requires that each school district “must comply with a request by a military recruiter or an institution of higher education for secondary students’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers, unless a parent has ‘opted out’ of providing such information.”

That means that, you as a U-32 student, may have your personal information released by default to military recruiters, no matter what your wishes may be.

“I think it’s a violation of privacy,” said Sophomore Tegan LaPan.

“It’s their information. They shouldn’t not have a say in who gives and doesn’t give it out.”

“It’s kind of like bending someone’s arm backwards, in a way”

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer complained to congress last year over the 1,100 high schools which have banned recruiters from their campuses.

This is unsurprising, given the military’s recent issues with recruiting.

In April of 2018, the U.S Army made headlines by reporting that their recruitment rates would fall short of meeting their goal of 80,000, by thousands, forcing them to lower the goal.

In an increasingly militarized society, our institutions must be continually scrutinized.

Is it acceptable that schools may be compelled to release student information to recruiters? I don’t think so.

There is a way to prevent your information from being given away. Schools must provide exemptions to all students or parents who request them.  

Upon finding this out, I went down to student services to inquire about an exemption for myself.

I was informed that my information is already marked to not be released. My assumption is that we signed a blanket exemption form when I signed up for U-32.

According to Student Services, any student may request such an exemption.

Despite this, Congress has repealed the provision which allowed for students under 18 to request such an exemption. The federal policy now states that parents must request it in writing.

If you are unhappy about the invasions of privacy outlined in this article, I urge you to go to student services to request an exemption, contact both of your senators, and your representative to make your concerns heard.