SPOKANE VALLEY -- Over several months, Autumn Chapman collected numerous military brochures and letters sent to her home. The mail was addressed to her two foster kids.
“We received different letters throughout the summer and this fall about recruiting our foster children into military services,” said Chapman.
Each time recruiters called her home she would tell them, “I’m not really too sure if that’s a good fit for our children.”
Chapman says her two foster children are developmentally disabled.
“I’ve asked them several different questions on how he got our information for our foster children and he said it was given through our school,” said Chapman.
Both teenagers are students in the Central Valley School District. Because they are foster kids, Chapman thought their information was private and could not be released.
“By federal law we are required to comply with request from military recruiters to provide student information,” said Central Valley School District spokeswoman Melanie Rose.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, school districts are required to provide student information when requested by military recruiters. It is very similar to the information given to colleges and can include names, addresses, and phone numbers. It is basic information with few other details about each student.
Because medical records are sealed, any recruiter who contacted Chapman would not have known her kids are disabled.
“He (recruiter) was very apologetic. He was very shocked that that wasn’t more filtered for him,” said Chapman
One recruiter told Q13 FOX News that it is not their intention to cause anxiety for families. Many times the mass mailers are sent out to every name provided by schools and not every student qualifies for military service.
School districts allow parents and students to opt out and keep their information private.
For example, the Central Valley School District gives parents the option to fill out a form to withhold their child’s information. By doing so, their name is taken off the list provided to recruiters. This year, the district reported 524 students withheld their information from the military.
In an email, a spokesperson with the Washington National Guard said “schools have the opportunity to scrub the list.”
Removal from the list stops all national and state recruitment mailers.
The Central Valley School District confirmed Chapman did not fill out the paperwork to prevent her foster kids’ information from being released. So every time student information is requested by the military, their names are included on the list.
“If the student isn’t opted out, their name is going to end up on the list,” said Rose.
Chapman thought her teenagers’ information was automatically protected because they are foster kids.
A Washington State Department of Social and Health Services spokesperson said the state does not have control over the release of information to military recruiters. According to the state, it is the foster parent’s responsibility to protect the confidentiality of each foster kid.
Chapman said she will now fill out the proper forms to remove her kids from the list provided to recruiters.