New Hampshire Law Targets Military Recruitment Test in Schools

New Hampshire has become the third state behind Maryland and Hawaii to mandate the universal selection of Release Option 8 for all public high school students who take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, (ASVAB). Governor Maggie Hassan (D) signed the measure into law on July 14, 2014. Requiring the test to be given under Release Option 8 prohibits the general release of 3 hours of test results, detailed demographic information, and social security numbers to military recruiting services without the consent of parents.

Aside from these three states, ASVAB results are the only information leaving the nation’s schools about children without requiring parental consent.

The Law Passed Unanimously

Iraq war veteran and director of NH Peace Action, Will Hopkins worked with the bipartisan sponsors of the bill to ensure that student privacy was protected in New Hampshire. Hopkins said, “The common sense notion, that a child’s test scores should never be given out freely without parental knowledge or consent resonated with NH legislators, who unanimously passed this bill through both committees and chambers. Legislators were shocked to hear that scores could be released without parental oversight, which is why out of 425 elected leaders (including the Governor) not a single vote was cast in opposition to this bill.”

The primary purpose of the ASVAB is to provide military recruiters “with a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors qualified through the ASVAB for enlistment into the Active Army and Army Reserve.,” according to military documents. The school-based ASVAB Career Exploration Program is among the military’s most effective recruiting tools.Across the country, 660,000 children in 12,000 high schools are tested every year.

The Department of Defense promotes the ASVAB in schools without revealing its tie-in to the military or its primary function as a recruitment tool. School counselors and administrators encourage students to take the test that many claim assists students in matching their abilities with certain career paths.

Under the law, which immediately takes effect, schools that allow the military to proctor the test must notify the military representative, parents, and students that Option 8 has been selected. A student (over 18) or a student’s parent or guardian may use the ASVAB scores for enlistment purposes by individually submitting the required forms to the military services authorizing the release of the information.

The measure follows the defeat in May of similar legislation in Connecticut. The bill calling for the universal selection of Option 8 sailed through the Democrat-controlled Connecticut legislature before lawmakers were subjected to misstatements by U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Michael D. Coleman and two prominent legislators that derailed the bill.

The testimony (see the 6th paragraph..Moreover..) submitted to the legislature by U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Michael D. Coleman is incorrect on a fundamental point. He is not accurate when he writes that children will lose the opportunity to benefit from the Career Exploration Program if SB 423 is passed. Military regulations See Sec. 3-2 Recruiter Release Options clearly state that a school can prohibit the release of student data to recruiters but still take advantage of the Career Exploration Program. Schools like participating in the Career Exploration Program because it provides a free career exploration tool that enables students to explore the world of work.