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A solution proposed to military recruitment conflict

The city and civil libertarians have been fighting over the Department of Education’s recent decision to hand the military a single database of every high school student’s contact information. The central division is over the students’ ability to opt out: While the DOE says they are making it possible for families to choose not to be recruited, the libertarians charge that the single letter sent home this year, which offered parents the chance to opt out, is not enough.

So far this has been a tense, unresolved stalemate. But, short of ending military recruitment (which would require a change of federal law), there might be a simple solution!

Leslie Kielson of United For Peace and Justice New York suggests that the city include the opt-out option not in the extra letter but in a form that schools already take very seriously: the emergency contact card that is given out at the start of every school year. Kielson points out that many school handouts never make it home to parents. The exception, she says, is the emergency contact card, which schools are aggressive about collecting.

DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg told me that the department will review the suggestion.

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