New Toledo Public Schools Policy Protects Student Privacy, Parents' Rights

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
August 21, 2009 12:00 am

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Board Also Acts to Send Military Entrance Test to Recruitment Stations Instead of Schools

Learning, Not Recruiting and the ACLU of Ohio applauded recent actions by the Toledo City School Board of Education to protect the privacy of students from military recruiters.

Because of the unanimous vote by the TPS Board, these significant changes will now be implemented in policy:

  • As required in law, every year, TPS will now deliver a visible consent “opt-out” form to parents and students, which will enable them to choose whether to release their private information to others. This form will accompany the Emergency Medical Authorization, a form which parents must return each year.
  • TPS will use several avenues to inform parents and students of their rights to opt-out of the releases of private student information, known as “directory information.” These notifications will be included in school registration packets, principals’ newsletters and at the TPS website.
  • As specified in the federal No Child Left Behind law, and as agreed by the U.S. Department of Education, TPS will honor any student’s opt-out, including a minor student’s opt-out, from military recruitment releases of directory information.
  • TPS will no longer administer the official military entrance test known as ASVAB at any Toledo Public School. They acknowledge in policy that these tests should not be the responsibility of any TPS employee to administer.

Further problems with ASVAB testing require the release of a student’s social security number. It requires students to relinquish their own rights to privacy of educational records without informed parental consent. These are parental rights violations, violations which most parents take extremely seriously.

Sallie Eddy, a Registered Nurse and member of Learning Not Recruiting, offers this personal experience:

“My son formerly attended high school in suburban Cleveland. He did not have a clear idea what he wanted to do after graduation, despite participating in an excellent construction program at high school. His school counselor encouraged him to take the ASVAB test at school, without anyone informing my son or I that it was the official military entrance test. No one told us what happened to the test data, or that my son as a minor was relinquishing his own rights to the privacy of education records and his social security number. We had no knowledge that military recruiters–and not colleges or employers–were to receive his detailed test results. We thought the test results would stay in his confidential school record. Shortly thereafter followed a significant number of calls from recruiters and requests to meet with him at school Recruiters continually pressed him to make appointments to go to the recruiting station for private meetings. The pressure was intense.

Ms. Eddy continued, “My son has always had respect for authority and treated any ‘grown up’ especially those in a uniform, with respect. He was very worried that he might disappoint the recruiter, or make him angry, rather than observing that every recruiter needs to meet a recruitment quota and, with ASVAB test results, has an upper hand with very personal information about a vulnerable young person. My son felt enormous pressure to do what they asked. Luckily he came to his father and I for more discussion of this matter. Any discussion of post-high school plans should not be taken lightly but thoroughly thought out in families, just as college discussions usually are, to make sure that it is what the student wants and not the result of outside pressure. I felt that my rights as a parent of a minor student were seriously violated.

Peggy Daly-Masternak, coordinator of Learning, Not Recruiting said, “To our knowledge, TPS Board is the first in the country to eliminate ASVAB testing. Board members should be commended for taking this important step. What good would it do for a parent to exercise their rights by completing an opt-out form to prevent their student’s contact information being released to military recruiters, only to find out that the student took a ‘careers exploration’ test (the euphemistic term assigned to the official military entrance test) with the results released to military recruiters for a detailed recruiting profile?”

This press release was distributed by Learning, Not Recruiting. The ACLU of Ohio has worked in coalition with Learning, Not Recruiting to protect the rights of students from intrusive and unnecessary privacy violations. For more information, check out their website at

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