LAWRENCE, Mass. — “Don’t let them violate your privacy,” said Martina M. Cruz to high school students and parents here as they arrived for the beginning of the school year.

Cruz, a community activist and a candidate for this city’s School Committee in District B, was drawing attention to the provision in the No Child Left Behind law that requires schools to give the names, addresses and telephone numbers of students to military recruiters, unless the parents and students choose to opt out of this procedure.

“I want to make sure both parents and students know they have the right to decline giving this information to military recruiters,” Cruz said. “It’s one thing if the military services are presented to students as one among many options, but what is being done under this law is a direct violation of students’ right to privacy.”

Most parents and students are unaware of this option, however. “The worst thing is that nobody is telling them about it,” she said.

Citing comments by Fernando Suárez de Solar, a California peace leader whose son Jose died in Iraq, Cruz said military recruiters make many promises about educational and other benefits in the services, but such benefits are in fact difficult to obtain in practice.

She said there are growing reports that military recruiters are not meeting their quotas, and are therefore increasingly resorting to unscrupulous pressure, lies and blackmail to sign young people up. The whole emphasis is wrong, she said.

“Our students need an education for living a productive life in a peaceful world,” she said. “Unfortunately, it appears that they are being trained for cheap manual labor and to be soldiers of war.”

This is Cruz’s second bid for a seat on the School Committee. She ran two years ago and lost by only a handful of votes. Her candidacy was recently endorsed by the Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council, which cited her longstanding support for the labor movement and her work in the community. The election will take place Nov. 8.

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