Opt Out of Military Recruitment

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Opt-out Campaign

This model has been developed for the United States, but we can work with you to adjust it to other countries.

World Beyond War is committed to abolishing the institution of war. It’s a lofty goal. We are striving to replace a culture of war with one of peace, in which nonviolent means of conflict resolution take the place of bloodshed.

We recognize that U.S. wars start in the high schools. The tentacles of a massive Pentagon web extend to high school cafeterias and main offices.

We must focus some of our attention on the alarming pace of the militarization of America’s public schools. The campaign briefly laid out here, if massively carried out, can be expected to seriously disrupt the military’s data collection of private student information from the high schools.

The military collects the names, addresses, and phone numbers of our children from the local high schools. However, the law says parents have the right to “opt-out” from having their child’s information sent to recruiters. High schools are supposed to tell parents they have this right, but many fail to do so. Consequently, most parents don’t know what’s going on, while the Pentagon collects their child’s information.

Parents must be afforded the right to say they don’t want their child’s information given to the Pentagon.

Please, consider these points:

  • Federal law requires schools to release the names, addresses, and numbers of all high school students to military recruiters. See Section 8025 of the Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA).
  • Parents have the right to “opt-out” in writing from having their child’s information sent to military recruiters.
  • Schools must notify parents they have the right to opt out.
  • The law is weak. A single notice provided through a mailing, student handbook, or other method is sufficient. Consequently, most parents aren’t aware there’s an easy way to opt-out. It’s not on their radar.
  • Most schools do a lousy job informing parents of the right to opt out. Many school systems have a single “opt-out” form that is buried online or a single page of the student handbook. It has been this way since 2002.


Maryland is the only state to have a law that requires all parents to complete a form that includes a clear opt-out option. The Maryland law is here: Ch 105 Education 7-111(C)

Here’s the MD Law in practice (see the opt-out language on the form near the top right, 3rd line down).

Parent’s signatures for the military opt-out/opt-in form should be required. Parents must be made aware it is their right to opt out. A right you do not learn about – or find any means to act on – is not a right at all!

Here’s what you can do.

Please click here to send an email to your state legislators and governor. This will take a minute. Please do it!

This will take an hour: (Can you give us one hour?)

  • Copy and paste  this template to create an email to school officials.
  • Send emails to your state department of education, specifically your state’s superintendent and school board.
  • Send emails to your local superintendent and school board.
  • Send the email to your local principal.

Need help? Send an email to Pat Elder pat@worldbeyondwar.org

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