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Opting out of military recruitment

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

To the editors:

Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act requires schools that get federal funds to give students’ home phone numbers and addresses to the military. But we have the right to “opt out” – to refuse to have the school release that information.

The Global Women’s Strike and Payday have launched a grassroots campaign to inform students and parents of the right to opt out, and to demand that money going to war and prisons go instead to caregivers, youth and communities. Our schools, libraries, public services and communities are suffering from lack of resources, while billions are spent on war and occupation.

The military is stepping up its recruitment effort and putting the squeeze on students because massive opposition to the war and occupation in Iraq has meant that young people are not enlisting, even during a period of economic hardship.

No one wants to see their son’s or daughter’s life wasted as cannon fodder. Students and parents are organizing in different ways across the country against recruitment and militarization of schools, and for resources and community control:

  • Students in Montclair, N.J., got 80 percent of their parents to opt out.
  • In a Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles, a demonstration of parents and community members blocked the car of retired General Tommy Franks when they learned that he was speaking to fifth-grade students.
  • Students in many Philadelphia schools are organizing opt-out efforts.

We invite you to be in touch with us at 215-848-1120. A “toolkit” on opting out can be found at Let us know what you are doing and get involved!

Pat Albright
Global Women’s Strike

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