ACLU of New Mexico Sues School District for Violating Privacy Rights of Students and Parents

Affiliate: ACLU of New Mexico
May 6, 2005 12:00 am

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Schools’ Military Recruitment Policy Not in Compliance with No Child Left Behind Act, ACLU Charges

ALBUQUERQUE — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico today filed a lawsuit against the Albuquerque Public Schools department for failing to properly notify parents of their option to prohibit public schools from directly sending their children’s contact information to military recruiters. The ACLU charges that the school district’s current practices violate students’ privacy and due process rights, as well as provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

“Not all parents want their children to be plied with mailings and phone calls pushing them to enroll in the military,” said ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson. “At a time when people who enter the military face the very real prospect of going into battle, parents should have the right to control what the U.S. Department of Defense knows about their children and how easily they can recruit them to become soldiers.”

The ACLU said that it has sent multiple letters to the public schools officials asking them to comply with the privacy protections in the No Child Left Behind Act. The administration responded by creating a form for parents, but didn’t address the ACLU’s concerns about the timing of the issuance of notice to parents.

“It’s important to get notice to parents in a timely fashion that their children’s information is being disclosed, in order for parents to be able to respond,” said Karen Meyers, a volunteer attorney for the ACLU. “It wouldn’t surprise me if upon learning of this lawsuit many parents will find out for the first time that their children’s contact information is going straight to military recruiters, courtesy of the Albuquerque Public Schools.”

“We hope this lawsuit will finally clear this up,” Meyers added.

The complaint was filed in the Second Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County by ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney George Bach, ACLU of New Mexico Co-Legal Director Maureen Sanders, and Cooperating Attorney Karen Meyers of Aguilar Law Offices, P.C.

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