December 06, 2005 1 min read

High school teacher Ms. Cornelius discusses what happened when a military recruiter asked her to fill out some paperwork involving a former student.

He said that one of my former students, let's call him Elvis, was interested in joining the Reserves after having made a previous commitment to the Navy, and he wondered if I "could just fill out this recommendation form?" ... So I very quietly said, "Sure, can I see your release form?"
He looked at me. "What release form?"
The one that I need to see in order to release confidential information about a student, including a recommendation in which I would be providing frank assessments of his character and intellectual capability," I said. "Since Elvis isn't here to ask me to write the recommendation, I need a release. You can't be too careful about releasing private information about students in this litigious time..." I smiled encouragingly at him.
He shuffled some stuff around, but no form. I responded that I would fill it out when I saw the form, and we parted ways.... I later was talking to a colleague, and he had just blithely filled out the info with no qualms. I dunno. Was I too ... cynical? sensitive? cautious? I was not trying to be obstructionist, but our school district really goes whole hog on the student privacy issue, as I've mentioned previously.

It’s an interesting question, particularly since NCLB requires schools to release student information to recruiters. Though, for the record, the real Elvis was in the Army, not the Navy.

(From A Shrewdness of Apes.)

A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.