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GI BLUES

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High school teacher Ms. Cornelius discusses what happened when a military recruiter asked her to fill out some paperwork involving a former student.

He said that one of my former students, let's call him Elvis, was interested in joining the Reserves after having made a previous commitment to the Navy, and he wondered if I "could just fill out this recommendation form?" ... So I very quietly said, "Sure, can I see your release form?"
He looked at me. "What release form?"
"The one that I need to see in order to release confidential information about a student, including a recommendation in which I would be providing frank assessments of his character and intellectual capability," I said. "Since Elvis isn't here to ask me to write the recommendation, I need a release. You can't be too careful about releasing private information about students in this litigious time..." I smiled encouragingly at him.
He shuffled some stuff around, but no form. I responded that I would fill it out when I saw the form, and we parted ways.... I later was talking to a colleague, and he had just blithely filled out the info with no qualms. I dunno. Was I too ... cynical? sensitive? cautious? I was not trying to be obstructionist, but our school district really goes whole hog on the student privacy issue, as I've mentioned previously.

It's an interesting question, particularly since NCLB requires schools to release student information to recruiters. Though, for the record, the real Elvis was in the Army, not the Navy.

3 Comments

absolutely,you should ask for a release form. what if there was a student who didn't want to join the military but the recruiter was trying another angle? are yourstudents aware they can opt-out of the information being sent to the military via their school, by filling out a form? recruiters are under a lot of pressure to keep up with monthly quotas and asking for a release form is in now way too cynical, sensitive or cautious. i think it's pretty scary your colleague didn't ask for a form.

Thanks, excellent...

I hope that refusing to fill out information on the recruit did not deny him his human rights to an occupation. By signing up for the military, the individual agreed to be investigated. What you could write of adverse content pales to what he will later undergo in his career if he requires a top secret clearance. Yes, I think you were overly cautious.

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