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Are Schools Required to Provide Personal Information
to Military Recruiters?


Note: Congress has reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the statute formerly known as No Child Left Behind. The new statute, Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015.


Q: I heard that the No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to share children's private, personal information with military recruiters?
Is this true?

If it is true, parents need to know about this so they can take steps to protect their children's privacy. How should we handle this? Can you put something about this in The Special Ed Advocate newsletter?

A: Yes, it's true. Under a provision in Title IX of the No Child Left Behind Act, schools are required to release the names, addresses, and phone numbers of high school juniors and seniors to "military recruiters," "post secondary educational institutions," and "prospective employers." (20 U.S.C. § 7908)

The U. S. Department of Education issued a Q & A publication about the military recruiter issue in October 2002. According to this publication, the provision is intended to ensure that recruiters have the same access to high school students as colleges and universities.

This provision is likely to elicit strong emotional responses from parents and educators. Some will object, others will support the provision. What should you do?

If you do not want the school to release information about your child to military recruiters, you need to let the school know this - in writing. Some school districts are sending a form that parents can sign to "opt out" of this provision. Other districts have not taken steps to develop an "opt-out" procedure yet. If you have not received an opt-out form to sign, you can write a letter, advising the school that you do not want military recruiters to have access to personal information about your child.

If you have our new book, Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, go to the sample letters chapter (pages 99-116). T
wo sample letters deal with the military recruiter issue. One is from a parent (who was a conscientious objector during Vietnam) who states his position that the school is not to release any information about his child to military recruiters.

The other letter is from a parent (who is a retired naval officer and former recruiter) who supports the provision. This parent offers to speak with others about the information that may be requested, how this information would be used, and the benefits of service to one's country.


Access to High School Students and Information on Students by Military Recruiters is a 4 page Q & A publication about requirements that school districts that receive assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) give military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as they provide to postsecondary institutions or to prospective employers. (October 9, 2002)

How Will No Child Left Behind Affect You? No Child Left Behind (NCLB) includes requirements about parental involvement, highly-qualified teachers, scientifically based reading instruction, tutoring and supplemental educational services, research-based teaching methods, and school and school district report cards. If you are a parent, teacher, administrator, child advocate, or attorney, these articles will help you learn how No Child Left Behind will affect you.

About the Authors

Peter W. D. Wright, Esq. and Pamela Darr Wright are the authors of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, From Emotions to Advocacy, and Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind.

The Wrights built the and sites and publish The Special Ed Advocate, the free online newsletter about special education law and advocacy.

Pete and Pam also do training programs about special education law and advocacy. To see if they are coming to your area soon, take a look at their schedule.

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