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Report: We Want You(th)! Confronting Unregulated Military Recruitment in New York City Public Schools (2007)


As the United States military intensifies its recruitment activities inside public high schools to meet wartime quotas, careful oversight of military recruitment tactics in schools is critical. The federal No Child Left Behind Law of 2001 grants the military wide access to public high schools and students’ personal information. While United States Army statistics list New York City as a top source for enlistment, the full extent of military recruitment efforts in New York City public schools remains unknown. This report, We Want You(th)! Confronting Unregulated Military Recruitment in New York City Public Schools, is an effort to understand and document student experiences with military recruitment in schools and to assess the effectiveness of the New York City Department of Education’s guidelines for protecting student privacy and preventing abuse by recruiters. Based on a survey of nearly 1,000 students, the report shows that the New York City Department of Education has done little to safeguard students’ rights to privacy, guidance and education regarding military recruitment. It proposes a set of recommendations to regulate military recruitment in New York City’s public high schools. Those recommendations include:

  • Providing a clear written explanation of students’ rights regarding in-school recruitment.
  • Distributing a multilingual form to students at the beginning of every year that allows students to opt out of the military’s database of personal student information.
  • Enforcing strict limits on frequency of recruiter visits and on recruitment activity in schools, including limiting locations within schools and prohibiting recruiter use of instructional time.
  • Training staff in each school to properly advise students about the risks and rewards of military service and discuss alternative career options.
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