Before You Enlist Video -
Researching Pop Culture and Militarism -
If you have been Harassed by a Military Recruiter -
War: Turning now to Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Christian Science Monitor
Click through to find out
Religion and militarism -
‘A Poison in the System’: Military Sexual Assault - New York Times
Change your Mind?
Talk to a Counselor at the GI Rights Hotline
Ask that your child's information is denied to Military Recruiters
And monitor that this request is honored.
Military Recruiters and Programs Target marginalized communities for recruits...
..and the high schools in those same communities

 Militarization of our Schools

The Pentagon is taking over our poorer public schools. This is the reality for disadvantaged youth.


What we can do

Corporate/conservative alliances threaten Democracy . Progressives have an important role to play.

 Why does NNOMY matter?

Most are blind or indifferent to the problem.
A few strive to protect our democracy.

Opt Out/Student lists

Opt Out and Student lists




"Opt Out" refers to the process defined in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), later reformed by the Obama administration into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), in which a student’s parent or legal guardian can choose to withhold the student’s contact information (name, address, and telephone number) from being released by their school district or school to military recruiters. Students who are age 18 or older are eligible to opt themselves out. 1 Once an opt-out request is submitted to the school by letter or form, the law states that the school cannot release the student’s contact information to recruiters unless written permission is given by a parent, legal guardian, or the student who is 18 or older.2 A different opt-out request can be sent to the Joint Advertising and Marketing Research Studies headquarters (JAMRS), where information is constantly being collected from other sources by the Department of Defense and given to military recruiters. If a student is 18 or older, they can submit the JAMRS opt-out request. If they are younger than 18, it must be done by their parent or legal guardian.

Schools often have  their own opt-out forms that can be used. Sometimes forms are sent home among a stack of papers students get in their first few days, and as a consequence are often overlooked. Whether or not a school has its own opt-out form to use, it must accept your request in whatever form you give them. Schools may give a deadline for opting out during the current school year, usually within a month after school starts.. If an opt-out request is submitted after the deadline, it is legally still valid for any following releases of contact information. Since the law states that contact information cannot be release without written permission after the opt-out request has been submitted, schools cannot legally require annual renewal of the opt-out request.




Although US military service is voluntary, large amounts of personnel are needed to maintain the constant military offensives abroad  and the hundreds of US bases located in different places around the world.3 4 The US government spends large sums of money and personnel on recruitment efforts as a result. These efforts include granting recruiters the same access to US high school campuses as university and job recruiters have, and the reliance on aggressive sale strategies to reach recruiting goals. In the process, recruiters often mislead students about the benefits they would receive on enlistment, and often gloss over the truth of what military service and war can be like.

For these reasons, the fact that schools are required to release student’s contact information to third parties is a dangerous overstep of young people’s privacy rights on the part of the government. It gives recruiters one-on-one access to students in which they can present an unchallenged narrative of military life. Although they are given the same access in school campuses as college and job recruiters, a military career is distinctly different from other career or education opportunities. Choosing to enlist in the US military can carry with it a high risk of physical, emotional, and psychological harm, as well as fewer benefits than initially advertised.




  • If you are a parent or legal guardian of a person younger than 18 years of age, contact your school to learn about their opt-out policy. Remember: they are required to provide a procedure through which to opt out. If one is not in place, they are required to accept your request in any form availiable.
  • If you are a student and are younger than 18, ask your parents or legal guardian to contact the school on your behalf. If you are older than 18, you
  • If there is not a policy in your school or school district in place, you can help create one.
  • Spread the word! Tell other people in your school, other parents and guardians or write to your local or school paper
  • Hand out opt out forms, or ask school authorities (teachers, the principal, counselors) to hand them out.



1 (archived 2014)

2 Idem (Archived 2014)


Other Resources



 2 Bilingual Opt Out Form






Revised 02/21/2024

Opt Out/Student lists - Archive 02/2020


Opt Out"Opt Out" refers to the process defined in the No Child Left Behind Act that allows secondary students to with hold their contact information from automatically being released to military recruiters by the school district or school. The law says that if a student has a letter or form signed by his/her parent the school does NOT have permission to give out their child’s contact info to recruiters, and the school must respect the parent’s decision. The law also allows a student to directly opt out without parent permission, regardless of age.

School policy regarding Opt Out

Schools have varying policies on what forms and letters they accept.  If they do have a form, it is often in the stack of papers students get in the first few days of school and it is highly overlooked.  In fact, some schools do not even know their own policy, so you have to push them to find out, and if they do not have one in place then you can help create that policy.  In the meantime, however, they must accept your requests in whatever form you give them.


Schools have different deadlines for opting out, but they are usually in the beginning of the school year, often in October.  Make sure to find out the deadline as soon as possible.

Here are some ideas (developed by the Resource Center for Non-Violence, Santa Cruz, CA) for goals to work for at your high school:

  1. Prominently display the opt-out information on the student emergency contact card.
  2. Ensure that the right to opt out from giving information to the military is not linked to other releases of information (so that the district cannot combine the release of contact information to recruiters with other agencies and thereby force students to give up receiving contacts from institutions like colleges).
  3. Students should have the right to opt themselves out, and either students or parents should be able opt-out at any time of the year.
  4. Provide contact information on the opt-out form for alternative viewpoints (such as the American Friends Service Committee, Project YANO and CAMS), so that students can get a more balanced picture of what it means to join the military.
  5. Development of a packet of resources on rights to privacy from military recruiters and information about the practices of military recruiters and alternatives to military service.
  6. Charge the military recruiters (and all other institutional recruiters) for access to student contact information.
  7. Have all recruiters sign an affidavit declaring compliance with local, state, and national discrimination laws.
  8. Require public notification of military recruiter visits to schools.
  9. Organize an Opt Out Week. For example, Click here to check out this blog!


Here are some recommended links available to better inform you about opt out strategies . This is a work in progress and NNOMY will be adding new documents as they are prepared and as policies change that effect enlistment. Check back periodically.


Articles on the web:

.Revised 03/26/2018

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