Bill would protect information about students from recruiters

Student Privacy Protection Act of 2007

An amendment to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act seeks to keep military recruiters from accessing secondary students’ personal data by requiring parents to choose to share that information rather than having to opt out of sharing it.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced the legislation March 6. The Student Privacy Protection Act would require local school systems to obtain written consent before releasing information on secondary school students to military recruiters or their agents.

The measure will next be referred to the House Education and Labor Committee sometime during this session, said a spokesperson for Honda. That committee’s chairman, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Because of a provision in the NCLB, school districts are directed to give information about students to military recruiters unless parents explicitly request that their children’s data remains private. Since the enacting of NCLB, secondary schools have been supplying the names, addresses and telephone numbers of students to recruiters sponsored by the military services.

However, schools often failed to make parents aware of the option to keep that information private, Honda said.

“My constituents brought this matter to my attention, expressing frustration that their children were being persistently being contacted at home by military recruiters,” Honda said. “They wanted to know how the military gained access to their personal information without their consent.”

Military recruiting efforts must respect the privacy rights of children and their families, Honda said.

Honda was joined at a press conference about the measure by Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association. “No high school student’s record should be released for recruiting purposes against the wishes of the student and his or her family,” Weaver said.

The NEA, along with the National Parent Teacher Association, supports Honda’s legislation.

Weaver testified before a joint session of the House and Senate education committees today. The session was the first of many to examine reauthorization of the NCLB, Miller said at the hearing.

The Defense Department did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.


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