No Child Left Alive

“As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.”

Robert Browning, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin

With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan generating far more American dead and wounded than planned for, the current shortfall in American youth willing to heed the call to arms is worrisome to the military. Despite the fact that our Constitution gives the federal government no legal power at all over educational matters, our representatives in Congress have, under the No Child Left Behind Act, required our schools to submit all contact information regarding our children to the military’s recruiters upon request. Local schools, foolishly dependent upon federal money to operate, will lose that money should they refuse to comply. Thus, it is up to the parents, as individuals, to put themselves between their children and the military’s Pied Pipers.

While many parents look upon a military career for their children in a positive light, I ask them to think about the manner in which the military goes about recruiting. For the federal government to illegally decree that we must be forced to open our children’s lives to the military reeks of tyranny. If our children belong not to us but to the federal government, what exactly is the meaning of this freedom we all keep yapping about? Why should we obey a law such as this, one so utterly outside the constraints of our Constitution? Are we so uncaring about liberty that we can teach our youth nothing but unthinking, blind submission to the federal government, to obey a “law” despite its clear illegality? True patriots do nothing of the sort.

So what can you do should you feel the need to fight for your child’s privacy and support our Constitution against this federal attack? Personally, I believe combining a bucket of tar, a bag of feathers, and Congress would be a good start, but I’m behind the times. Another way is spelled out under statutory law, which requires each school to notify parents of the simple procedure necessary to have their child’s name removed from the military’s gaze. It is imperative to take advantage of this loophole before it is slammed shut.

By their ignoring the requirement to notify you of the opt-out procedure, did your child’s school show that its love of federal money exceeds its concern for your child’s God-given right to privacy? You can still fight back, by demanding your local school provide you with the opt-out form, filling out and making a copy for your records, and sending the letter certified return receipt to your child’s school principal before your local deadline. (New York City’s is Oct. 14.) This will remove your child’s contact information from the military’s database, leaving your child free to choose whether or not they wish to speak to a recruiter. And isn’t choice what freedom is all about?

Most importantly, all acts of resistance to the unconstitutional, illegal No Child Left Behind Act will teach our children a lesson of far more worth than anything they can be taught in Iraq. It will teach them how to uphold and defend liberty.

Author: John Feffer

John Feffer writes for Foreign Policy in Focus.