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School board zeroes in on release of data to military recruiters

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday ordered staff to investigate pre-checked forms that authorized the release of student records to military recruiters.

The forms were part of an enrollment package filled out by high school students and their parents.

The matter was brought to the board’s attention during public comments on an agenda item about how schools were treating students.

Speakers expressed concern that the implications of the question probably slipped past most parents.

One student told board members that a question on future plans had college pre-marked for pupils at Mission Bay High School, and military already selected for those at Lincoln High School, which is located in a less affluent part of the city.

“We shouldn’t be checking off on any items whatsoever,’' board member Katherine Nakamura said.

Board member Richard Barrera demanded the practice of pre-checking be stopped immediately, that future enrollment questionnaires be available in languages other than English, and parents be informed immediately that they have a right to not have private information sent to the armed forces.

“There is a sense of urgency in getting this out to the parents,’' Barrera said.

Assistant Superintendent Charles Morris said he would begin an investigation the first thing Wednesday morning.

“I will tell the people in the audience we will not release information to the military ... until this is resolved,” Morris said.

Board President Shelia Jackson said she’s dealt with multiple complaints recently of improper releases of private information.

The board asked for a report on the issue at the next meeting, scheduled for next Tuesday.