Go Away, Recruiter!

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Calls from the “U.S. Government” have been appearing on my Caller ID and my first reaction was to hope that Bush was not calling for donations to pay for more “FEMA did well in New Orleans!” propaganda. Then I decided that I really would not mind such calls — for they would give me a chance to take my upsetting and tiring days out on someone neither near, nor dear to me. (i.e. vent my spleen)

Today the mystery was solved. I had only just arrived from work when the phone rang. I looked at the name — “U.S. Government” — and decided to take the call. I was already planning my response….”No! I do not want to pay for another soup line photo!” when I heard…

“May I speak to David?” from the other end of the line. “He isn’t here. Can I take a message?” “This is Sgt. So&So from…” Instantly I realized it was a military recruiter!

My curmudgeon-within snapped to full attention, “I do not want a recruiter to EVER phone here and ask for my son again! Take his name off any and all lists.” The fellow was offended, but not as offended as I was. I was furious that he would dare to phone my home with the ulterior motive of rounding up some more youthful cannon fodder for Iraq.

I asked if my son had provided the recruiter with our phone number, and he replied that David had not done so. I asked how then he had been able to get our phone number — even though I already knew about the recruiter-gets-access-to-personal-information scam. He readily admitted that the school had given him my number.

Yes, parents, schools give out confidential information on your children to military recruiters! I want you to know that, because I learned too late. When my son took the ACT exam, literature (fiction, of course) began arriving from recruiters. “Be all that you can be…(if you happen to avoid wounds and death.”) When my son decided to try school instead of homeschool, his name went into the non-confidential file and was handed to the recruiters. When my son decided that he preferred to actually learn something, and to do so at the kitchen table, it was too late. The wolves had learned of his once-safe refuge.

It used to be that schools were absolutely forbidden to divulge any personally identifiable information on students, but now those same schools readily and rapidly hand over — and to military recruiters, no less — names, addresses, phone numbers for all enrolled high schoolers.

This happens because of the No Child Left Behind law.

Here we all believed that the name of the law was an assurance that no child would be left behind academically. What fools we have been. In actuality, the name of the law means that no child will be left any privacy; that no child will be left without personal encouragement from a military recruiter to join the fray. See? No child will be left… home, thus missing a trip to Iraq…if the warmongers have anything to say about it.

Written within the No Child Left Behind law is this nasty bit of trickery. Of course schools have the right to refuse to turn over personal information on their students to military recruiters, but…if schools decide to do that, they forfeit all federal funding for their programs and grants and handouts. Not a pretty picture for most schools, especially those with large numbers of students receiving Free and Reduced Lunches.

I asked Sgt. So&So if he realized that he only is able to access personal information because of a nastily included and hidden clause in a law that was supposed to improve education, and I began to explain my feelings on this wool-pulled-over-American-eyes scam.

His response was a very angry, and very challenging, “When you see a soldier, thank him for your right to free speech.” I responded that the current soldiers are not the ones who won any battles for free speech.” So…HE HUNG UP ON ME!

He made his point — that one soldier did, indeed, have control over my free speech — if only by slamming down the phone. However, he had no control over the names that I called him from my end of the disconnection. :-)

Maybe he later reconsidered the manner in which he handled our phone call; maybe it ‘hit him’ that his response to my complaint about the violation of my son’s privacy was…let’s say “not the most mature or professional” way to handle an American citizen who has every right to feel violated by the State.

I will pretend that he called back twice in order to apologize for interrupting me; arguing with me; then hanging up without so much as allowing me to complete my explanation. He can pretend that I answered the phone instead of checking Caller ID before returning to the great “anti-state; anti-war; pro-market” articles at LRC.

Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] is an educational consultant, homeschooling mom, and public school special ed teacher. She is available for presentations, inservices, and workshops.

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