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Proposed resolution targets military recruitment at schools

Proposed resolution targets military recruitment at schools


March 25, 2003
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ - Against a backdrop of war, city schools trustees on Wednesday will consider a resolution aimed at protecting students from military recruiters.
The resolution would require schools to obtain parental permission before releasing student names and phone numbers to recruiters, and give students facts that will help them make informed choices about enlistment.
A military spokesman on Monday, however, said the Santa Cruz City Schools district has jeopardized its federal funding by not already turning over student information.
The war in Iraq gives the resolution urgency, said Josh Sonnenfeld, a 17-year-old Santa Cruz High School student and member of a group that proposed the resolution to the school board.
“(Soldiers) may wind up losing their lives because they didn’t know the whole picture when they signed up,” Sonnenfeld said. “It’s much better if they know their options before going in.”
Many may not have had adequate information and may have been swayed by offers of money for college and other incentives, he said.
“Military recruiters are salesmen, and you have to treat them like salesmen,” Sonnenfeld said. “You have to get all the information.”
The resolution is in response to a provision in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 that requires schools receiving federal funds to release student contact information to recruiters. The federal legislation deals mostly with education reforms, such as mandating testing and penalizing failing schools.
Other resolution backers include the Santa Cruz High School PTA, the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Santa Cruz-based Resource Center for Nonviolence.
“We feel student information shouldn’t be given to anyone without parent permission,” said Jeanie Brown, PTA president. “The next thing you know, credit card companies will be getting student info.”
Santa Cruz is the only school district in Santa Cruz County that has failed to comply with the new federal rule, said Capt. Tuan Pham of the U.S. Marines. The others submitted lists of juniors and seniors in response to a request from military recruiters in July, he said.
Santa Cruz Superintendent Keith Parkhurst said he was unaware of the request, which would have been made under his predecessor’s tenure, but would look into the matter. Parkhurst has been superintendent since December.
Under the law, the district could lose federal funds. But Pham said the law also allows parents to deny the military access to the information.
The Santa Cruz proposal calls for “opt-in” cards that parents would be asked to sign before information is released.

Trustees meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the district office, 2931 Mission St.
Contact Donna Jones at djones (at)

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