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.


Pat Elder #NoWar2016

World Beyond War organized a national conference called NO WAR 2016 at the American University in Washington, D.C., on September 23rd to 26th OF 2016. TheRealNews livestreamed video and video documented all the conference presenters. Pat Elder representing The National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, spoke about the militarization of American public schools by Pentagon programs designed to recruit youth into military service.

Recruiter Abuse

What is recruiter abuse?

Stop Recruiter AbuseWith the advent of mandatory access for military recruiters in our secondary schools in the United States under the implimentation of Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind legislation, military recruiters have gained access to students under vulnerable circumstances with minor aged youth. This has opened the door to potential abuses that have impacted the lives of youth who have been in contact with recruiters in their schools. Because of bad pubicity on these documented abuses, (check out the document below), there has been a movement in all the recruiting services of the differing services, to clean up their act, but the need to meet quotas and the pressures of the job still put recruiters in a position to cut corners. It is very important to be diligent when dealing with military recruiters if you are considering enlisting. Go with a parent or friend and get everything in writing that they promise you. If they are not willing to do that, then assume that the promise will not be backed up by the military.

Examples of recruiter abuse include:

Making misleading or false statements;

Repeated contact after a request to refrain from contact;

Physical coercion;

Sexual solicitation;

Encouraging recruits to lie or falsify information;

Offering drugs or alcohol;

Attempting to intimidate or scare recruits or their parents;

And refusal to accurately document recruits' medical or legal situations.

What can be done about recruiter abuse? If you feel that you are being misled or pressured by a recruiter, call the GI Rights Hotline at 877-447-4487. If your recruiter is abusing you physically or sexually, or breaking the law in any way, call the police.

Source: Sustainable Options for Youth (Nonmilitary Options for Youth) in Austin, Texas.

Report on Recruiter Abuses 2000 to 2009

By no means should this compilation be considered a definitive report covering all cases of criminal, abusive or suspect activity by military recruiters or the recruiting command. For example, in 2004 the Army alone self reported over 325 cases of recruiter fraud, with only 35 recruiters relieved of duty (see CBS News report dated July 14, 2005). Self-reported Department of Defense records show that rapes or sexual assaults by military recruiters numbered at least 100 in 2005 (see Kansas City Star report dated August 20, 2006).

Our margins in compiling are a result of existing limitations in media database research vs. the military’s access to their own records. All reports we cite have been saved. This compilation was created to visibly support the widely-held opposition to military recruiters having federally-forced access to youth via schools and access to youth throughout their communities, largely due to exorbitant military recruiting budgets.

Read full report: Download PDF
Compiled by Learning Not Recruiting – Toledo, Ohio

Military Recruiter Abuse Hotline

AFSC is responding to this urgent need. Staff people nationwide will be responding to calls in English and Spanish. To report an abuse call 1- 877-688-6881. To request stickers publicizing the hotline, contact Darlene Gramigna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Recruiter abuse has become such a problem that a congressional committee has suggested installing surveillance equipment in recruiting stations (which does little to protect young people solicited in schools). AFSC staff will track reported abuses to support our work advocating the demilitarization of youth and youth spaces. We will also support youth and families in seeking remedies to cases of abuse.

The National Youth and Militarism Recruiter Abuse Hotline is now open at 1- 877-688-6881. After hearing many reports from young people and their families about abuses by military recruiters, we at AFSC are beginning to track these abuses as reported to our national hotline. Examples of recruiter abuse include making misleading or false statements; repeated contact after a request to refrain from contact; physical coercion; sexual solicitation; encouraging recruits to lie or falsify information; offering drugs or alcohol; attempting to intimidate or scare recruits or their parents; and refusal to accurately document recruits’ medical or legal situations.

Additional Links:


Video Reports:


For Counter Recruiters

The rights of counter-recruiters are governed by the same guidelines that apply to First Amendment activities in general, except when the activities are at a school.

The courts have defined several types of forums that allow differing levels of restrictions on speech. Public forums, like parks and sidewalks, allow the narrowest restrictions. For example, non-students have a right to stand on public property outside a school entrance and hand out fliers or hold signs, as long as they don't impede pedestrians or vehicle traffic or cause a disruption of the educational process inside the school (e.g., using a loud bullhorn). For more information on this type of activity, see Guide to High School Leafleting and Petitioning.

Schools in general are non-public forums. Students and staff have a right to be present on school property, but the access of others is subject to the approval of school officials.

If a school establishes a forum for any outsiders to address students on a topic, it can limit access to only those who will address the same topic. Examples of forums are a career fair, a lunch time information table, a bulletin board, a classroom presentation, a bulletin announcement, and an assembly.

While schools can dictate who will be given access to a forum, they cannot practice viewpoint-based discrimination by only allowing one side to be presented on a controversial subject. It is this principle of equal access that provides a legal basis for schools to give counter-recruiters the same access that is given to military representatives. For more information on equal access for counter-recruiters, see COUNTER RECRUITER ACCESS TO HIGH SCHOOLS.


 Revised 06/23/2016

Statewide ASVAB campaign



A tutorial

This step-by-step guide is meant to aid activists in their legislative campaigns to prohibit the automatic release of test results to military recruiters gathered through the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) in the public high schools.

The steps outlined here, largely drawn from our experience in Maryland, can be used as a general template for counter-recruitment activists across the country.

We recommend you study everything on this site pertaining to the ASVAB (including a cursory examination of military documents) and read through the entire contents of this comprehensive website: before proceeding.  Study is critical because much of this campaign revolves around educating school officials, political allies, and legislators.  The military, for its part, has embarked on a very clever and persuasive misinformation campaign.  See the "ASVAB in the News" section of the website for more on DoD attempts to obfuscate the true nature of the ASVAB program in the public schools.
(Update: Not the case in September 2022: See ASVAB Enlistment Testing Program)

The first step is to form a loose-knit coalition of allies and give it a name that has something to do with protecting the privacy of children;  like, "The ________ Coalition to Protect Student Privacy."  "Peace" and "Justice" are polarizing words in statehouses across the country so you'll want to be careful not to associate your campaign with activist groups that might insist on asserting an anti-military or left-wing agenda.

You'll run across school officials and legislators who are convinced the ASVAB is an excellent career exploration tool that has its place in the public schools.  Concede the point.  You can allow that the program might help young people negotiate career paths.  You're not against the ASVAB; however, you feel strongly that test results should not be automatically forwarded to military recruiters.

Once you've formed your "coalition," which may start out as a couple of activists in town (or just yourself), you'll need to begin building your coalition by contacting your natural allies in this struggle. Call your local ACLU affiliate and ask them for advice.  See if they can help you craft legislation.  Ask them who they think might be willing to introduce the bill in your state's House and Senate. Send them the excellent letter written by the ACLU-MD in support of Maryland's legislation.  You should also send them Maryland's new law.

Your state is likely to have some sort of institutionalized progressive political entity like a progressive Democratic caucus.  Contact them and see if they can help.  They're likely to be in a position to know which legislators are the best candidates to carry the water.  Be careful not to fall into the trap of agreeing to have the legislature's most progressive member, the token radical, be the lead sponsor.  You're going to need conservative Democratic votes and even a few Republican votes.

In your conversations with these folks, try to determine the likely path your legislation will have to travel to make it to the governor's desk. Identify the specific committees and subcommittees you'll most likely be dealing with and examine the voting records of members before approaching them or having others approach them.   It's very helpful to have co-sponsors sit on crucial committees.  It's a real coup to have a committee chairperson agree to sponsor or co-sponsor the bill!  Committee chairs are often incredibly powerful and it's tough (though not impossible) getting legislation to the floor if they're strongly opposed.

Call your local NAACP Unit (archived) and ask them for their advice and support.  Do a cursory evaluation of the ASVAB Database of high schools that administer the test in your state. Try to ascertain the racial make-up of schools that administer the ASVAB.  The ASVAB is more likely to be administered in communities of color than in predominately white areas.  Share the testimony of the NAACP-MD urging parental involvement in decisions relating to the release of student information to the Pentagon.

You should call your state affiliate of the National PTA.  In Maryland, the PTA came through in a big way.  During the PTA testimony in the General Assembly, a PTA spokesperson argued that parents, rather than the Pentagon, should be empowered to make decisions regarding the release of student information to recruiters. In contrast, the Army's top recruiter argued that the Pentagon should make these decisions, rather than "influencers," DoD talk for parents.

You should also contact your NEA state affiliate (archived) to see if they'd be willing to support your legislation. The National Education Association has not taken a position on the ASVAB, although a piece in the publication NEA Today describes the controversy and explains Options 1 through 8.  NEA leadership has explained that the issue is not specifically related to the NEA's purview.

It is advisable to send a letter to your state superintendent of schools asking that she immediately select Option 8 for all students across the state who take the ASVAB. See the Template Letter to State Superintendents.  It is unlikely that your state superintendent will act to mandate this change because these types of decisions are typically left to local education agencies. It is important, however, to know where this office stands in relation to your legislation.  Your legislature will be reluctant to enact legislation if it is opposed by the state superintendent.  If your superintendent takes no position on your bill, it may be viewed as a green light in some quarters.

Getting a bill introduced

Throughout this process, you should be seriously considering whom you'd like to ask to submit legislation.  It may be helpful to have a constituent of a legislator make an appointment and have you attend the meeting. Legislators are much more willing to act on behalf of people who live in their districts.  Once you've settled on lawmakers in both houses to sponsor your legislation, it's advisable to hold a strategy session to formulate a plan of action.  Your legislator is likely to ask you to help her find co-sponsors for the legislation.  For instance, see Maryland's House Bill 176 and view the delegates who were willing to sign on to the bill before it was introduced.

Once your bill is introduced, there may be a window of time when you're still able to add additional co-sponsors.  It is best not to have too many legislators from one or two extremely liberal jurisdictions co-sponsor the bill because it may be viewed by moderates to signify a left-wing proposal.  If possible, try to find a few Republicans to sign on.

Leave the press out of it. There's no point in giving your opposition a heads up.

Your bill will be assigned to committees in each house that will schedule hearings.  Obtain a list of committee members and send them each a letter similar to the letter sent to the superintendent of schools.  Include in the letter the names of all of the public schools in the legislative district that administer the ASVAB, along with the Recruiter Release Options selected. Most likely, the vast majority of students who took the test in the particular jurisdiction had their test results automatically forwarded to recruiters. Note that you're only concerned with public schools that administer the test.  You'll have to create a spreadsheet of all the schools in your state that give the test and remove the private schools before sorting them into legislative districts to generate letters to individual lawmakers. You should deliver your letter by regular mail, by email, and you should hand carry it to the office of each committee member.

It is also advisable to create succinct bullet points and distribute them to lawmakers on several occasions. You can never overdo it.  Educating lawmakers is your key to success.

At this point, you should schedule appointments to meet with all committee members. This part is time consuming, but it is possible to meet with as many as 10 to 15 legislators in a day.  You'll only need about 20 minutes of their time.  Go over the bullet points with the legislators and discuss how the test is given at such-and-such high school in the particular district.   See if you can find folks from various peace and justice groups or through your contacts with the organizations listed above who would be willing to accompany you in the meetings. Again, it helps, although it is not necessary, to have constituents make the appointments and accompany you to the meetings.

Legislation is made in committees and it is rare for a bill to receive a favorable report in committee and be voted down on the floor.

Lobbying for the bill

We strongly encourage you set up an automated system that allows constituents across your state to click on a link that brings them to a page that briefly explains the issue and guides them through a simple process that generates letters of support to their legislators. Activists in Maryland were able to generate close to a thousand emails, with many directed to committee members whose votes were crucial. Your political allies may be willing to share contact information with some of their membership.  Phone calls from constituents to committee members are invaluable in this process. It helps to regularly send messages to list-serves, blogs, websites, and Facebook, sending people the link to the automated system to generate emails to lawmakers.

When a bill is heard in committee, those in favor and those opposed are invited to provide written and spoken testimony.  Speakers are usually limited to a few minutes. It is possible that the militarists will not be present to oppose the legislation, especially if the measure has stayed out of the press. It's possible your bill may attract a letter from the commanding officer of your local Military Entrance Processing Station, as it did in Maryland. This could be helpful because the military is arguing that the Pentagon, rather than parents, should ultimately determine the release of student information.  Activists in Maryland circulated the letters written by the Maryland PTA, which argued in favor of allowing parents to make decisions regarding the release of information pertaining to their children, and the Lt. Colonel in charge of recruiting, who didn't think that was such a good idea.  Most legislators were convinced the measure was necessary and the law passed.

A good lineup of people testifying in committees hearing the bill would consist of an official from a school or a school system that has selected Option 8 and representatives from the NAACP, ACLU, PTA, your local teacher's union, your state's progressive political entity, a student who has taken the ASVAB without realizing its tie-in with recruiting, and an unhappy parent.  You should lead the parade.

As soon as a committee in one of the houses approves the measure, you ought to distribute a brief statement to all legislators in both houses that includes a mention of the victory along with a few of the most pertinent bullet points.

At this point, the Pentagon and its allies in the legislature may be expected to engage in a behind-the-scenes public misinformation campaign aimed at questioning the necessity of the Option 8 bill.

They may argue that Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act gives parents and students the ability to withhold ASVAB test results from military recruiters. It does not.

The militarists may argue the ASVAB program is completely voluntary and that students who take the test can sign a form that precludes their results from reaching recruiters.

The test may, in fact, be required in some schools and/or strongly encouraged in others, but, in either case, results are being automatically shipped to recruiters.  Also, the bogus Privacy Act Statement found on the ASVAB Answer Sheet in use in schools throughout the country informs students they must sign the form for their test to be graded. Legal experts claim this aspect of the testing regime runs counter to both federal and state laws designed to protect the privacy of students.  Students who take the ASVAB do not select release options — only school officials can do that.

Once the legislation passes its assigned committees and is sent to the floor for a vote, it is crucial to continue sending all members relatively brief items that address the legislation. If there are any new letters in opposition, they should be widely distributed and all misstatements should be identified.  Similarly, erroneous reporting in the press should be immediately challenged with letters to the editor that are shared with legislators.

During this fragile time period, it's important to be working closely with those who've sponsored your legislation. Sometimes they'll ask you to refrain from contacting a particular member or to refrain from sending literature. Generally, you should defer to their wishes.  They know the legislature.  You know the ASVAB.

As soon as the legislation is introduced, you should make an appointment to meet with the governor's legislative assistant to explain the rationale behind the bill and to ask for the governor's support.  When the legislation passes both houses, it is wise to make a second appointment with the governor's office.  If the governor appears to be wavering in her support, you should generate hundreds of letter in support of the legislation.

At any time you may consult with NNOMY for advice.  This is a winnable campaign!


Revised: 09-21-2022

Counter Recruiter Access to High Schools


North Carolina Peace Action member Sally Ferrell is pictured at her Wilkes County, N.C., home, April, 23, 2008Equal access refers to the lawful activity of countering military recruitment inside high schools. It is not the only way to reach and educate young people who are targeted for military recruitment, but it is an effective way to counter military recruitment where it is having a major impact.

Equal access for non-students is explained in the 1986 ruling in San Diego Committee v. Governing Board of Grossmont Union High School District [790 F.2d 1471 (9th Cir.1986)]. In simple terms, equal access rests on the principle that once a government agency creates a forum for expressive activity on a controversial topic, access to the forum can be limited only so long as it is reasonable and not a façade for viewpoint-based discrimination. If the presentation of one point of view has been allowed, the forum must also be opened to those with an opposing view on the same topic.

Key document: see “Using Equal Access to Counter Militarism in High Schools.”

The above document explains the following:

In the effort to counter the military in secondary schools, three main organizing models have developed:

· Educational activities organized in schools by students themselves (e.g. clubs and campaigns). Students have the right to speak out on issues in their schools whether or not the other side has already been presented. For more on students’ rights, including some legal limitations, see Guide to High School Students' Rights.

· Educational outreach conducted by students and/or non-students outside of official school channels (e.g. by leafleting on public property at school entrances). This does not require an equal access argument, though expressive activities on public property can be controlled by reasonable regulation.

· Attempts by non-students to get information to young people through the school system itself. This approach can sometimes require educating school personnel about the principle of equal access and forums on government property.

What triggers the right to equal access?

To establish equal access, an existing forum on the topic of military enlistment must be identified. Examples would be if military representatives were allowed to:

  • Speak in classrooms or at assemblies,
  • Place recruitment materials in career centers, counseling offices, libraries or on bulletin boards,
  • Place ads in student newspapers,
  • Staff information tables at career/college fairs or in lunch areas,
  • Approach students in lunch areas, hallways, etc.,
  • Visit the school with special mobile recruiting vehicles,
  • Give the ASVAB test.

When these and other forums have been granted to military representatives, those with an opposing view have a legal right to the same access to students.

What speech content is allowed with equal school access?

· Speech content that fits within the specific topic of the forum that has been established is legally allowed; for example, explaining the possible negative consequences of military enlistment and realities of the job, including war.

· Distributing a general anti-war message or information that is not directly related to what recruiters are saying would technically be outside the forum and could possibly be excluded.

Should I use legal threats to gain access?

This is a very complicated question that cannot be answered easily here, except to say that the courts are generally willing to overlook our constitutional rights when it comes to defending the ability of the military to recruit. Those who have been doing this work for a long time—including some who have used litigation—have learned that it’s more effective to reach out to students in ways that avoid threats of litigation; for example, by going initially to teachers and counselors, or seeking to reach students outside of school, rather than going straight to administrators or governing boards. Read more about the reasons for this in “Using Equal Access…,” and contact Project YANO for advice from those who have been involved in litigation and also learned to gain access without it.


 Revised 11/11/2019


School Based Counter Recruitment

Stop Military Recruitment in our schoolsThe military has maximized its presence and influence in the educational system by seeking the widest possible access to classrooms, school career centers, counseling offices, student records, student newspapers and even elementary school playgrounds.

In the effort to counter militarism in schools, a number of approaches have been developed: Some are organized bv students themselves, some by non-students, and some by students and non-student allies working together. Strategies have ranged from educating individual students about the realities of military enlistment and their other options, to working for policy changes that will reduce the military’s presence in schools and increase student exposure to non-military options.

This section is a portal to topics and information relating to these different strategies and approaches.

Here are some recommended links available to better inform you as a student. 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.


Organizations you should know:


Articles on the web:

Revised: 10-11-19

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The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY) is supported by individual contributions and a grant by the Craigslist Charitable Fund - 2023 Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. NNOMY websites are hosted by The Electric Embers Coop.

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