Students want off recruiting lists

BOSTON – More than 5,000 high school students in five of Massachusetts‘ largest school districts have removed their names from military recruitment lists, a significant jump in the last year, the Boston Globe reports.

This trend is especially true in school systems with many low-income and minority students, the Globe noted.

Since 2002, under the federal No Child Left Behind law, high schools have been required to provide lists of students’ names, telephone numbers, and addresses to military recruiters who ask for them, as well as to colleges and potential employers. Students who don’t want to be contacted – or their parents – have to notify school districts in writing.

In Boston, about 3,700 students – 19 percent of those enrolled in high schools – have asked to have their names removed from the lists. So far this year, at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 952 high school students, more than half the student body, told the school system not to provide their names. About 18 percent of the public high school students in Cambridge, Boston, Worcester, Lowell, and Fall River also have opted to remove their names.

Though no official national statistics are available, a group founded six months ago to raise awareness of the law said visitors to its website have downloaded 37,000 copies of a form that can be used to remove students’ names from the lists. The Globe says the trend has been driven by continuing casualties in Iraq and a well-organized peace movement that has urged students to avoid contact with recruiters.

Military officials downplayed the significance of the trend, stressing that the information from high schools is only one way to reach potential recruits. The alternatives include motor vehicle registration databases, college day fairs at the schools, or trolling for recruits at shopping malls.