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Dissent Noted

Punk Band Questions Provision Giving Military Access to Student Names

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Plenty of teachers and politicians have blasted the No Child Left Behind Act, but now the federal law is striking a chord of discord with a punk rock band.

Punk band Anti-Flag joins members of Congress last month.
Punk band Anti-Flag joins members of Congress last month.
—Jocelyn Augustino/U.S. Newswire Photography

The Pittsburgh-based group Anti-Flag is upset about a provision in the law that guarantees military recruiters access to student names, addresses, and phone numbers unless families explicitly opt out.

The band has helped launch a Web site, www.militaryfreezone.org , to voice its objections. Anti-Flag is encouraging young people to notify school officials that they don’t want their personal information given to the recruiters. And it’s also hoping to persuade Congress to undo the federal measure altogether.

“We think this is a privacy invasion,” said Justin Sane, the lead singer of Anti-Flag, which has toured extensively and released several albums. “Many students and parents, I would guess 99 percent, don’t even realize that students’ private information is being given out without the student or parent’s consent.” Mr. Sane is also the co-founder of the Underground Action Alliance, which is running the Military Free Zone campaign.

The band has been critical of President Bush’s Iraq policy. Its 2003 song “Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)” proclaims, “To save you, we may have to kill you!”

Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen G. Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said recruiters rely on access to high schools to ensure that “young people have the chance to consider the military along with college and work.”

Anti-Flag came to Washington on March 17 for a press conference with three House Democrats, including Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, a Navy veteran.

Asked if it was a bit “unpunk” to team up with Washington politicians, Mr. Sane called it a “fair question” but said there are at least a few good people in Congress.

“You get a barrel of bad apples, there’s probably one or two that are good,” he said. “Wherever we can find allies, we’re willing to work with them.”

Vol. 24, Issue 30, Page 23

Published in Print: April 6, 2005, as Dissent Noted

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