Students win over militarism in Oakland
Youth from campaign to defend Oakland students against aggressive military recruiting.Photo: AFSC / Siri Margerin
Two year campaign succeeds in protecting students’ privacy from recruiters
A two-year campaign by youths in Oakland, California, has resulted in a significant victory: the Oakland Unified School District will now offer every student the chance to “opt out” of the military recruitment database known as JAMRS. The district becomes the first school district in the nation to allow students and their parents to withhold their personal data from JAMRS.
The privately run database contains personal and educational information on 30 million people, mainly recruitment-age students.
Young organizers campaigned over two years to give students the opportunity to decline participation in JAMRS. Their efforts were supported by AFSC staff in partnership with Better Alternatives for Youth-Peace (BAY-Peace), a community partner.
The young organizers collected over 1000 petitions, made a video, and created a theatrical piece that was performed before the Oakland school board. They also held a career fair featuring alternatives to the military and drafted--and redrafted--the resolution the board adopted Wednesday night (May 12, 2010).
In the resolution, the board approved including a form allowing students to “opt out” of sharing information with JAMRS in student registration packets.