Balance needed on recruiting access

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

A provision of the No Child Left Behind Act that requires schools to provide student information to military recruiters has created some confusion and a great deal of concern, particularly among parents who want to protect the privacy of their children.

For years, military recruiters have been permitted to participate in career days and interviews with students interested in learning more about military opportunities. But recruiters say more and more schools have shut down that access in recent years. The provision of the federal education act is, in part, an effort to shore up voluntary enlistments. Some schools are giving parents the option of signing a form to keep school records away from recruiters.

Recruiters, school officials and parents need to strike a balance in their compliance with the federal mandate. Recruiters need access to students but should avoid hard-sell tactics that many students and their parents find offensive. School officials need to comply with the law. And parents need to understand that U.S. armed forces can offer some good career and education options.

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