Many parents are up in arms about a survey given to middle schoolers that asked them questions such as if they have had oral sex and have they have had sexual intercourse, how many times and with how many people. Quite a few parents have objected to the survey.
The school claims that the questions are asked for health reasons, but I suspect they could be used for getting leads an which students could be used.
The survey is allegedly confidential, but how hard would it be to compare the survey with other reports written by the students? If I were the parent of a child who had to fill in the survey, I would be very suspicious.
The school tried to allay fears by bringing up the fact that the surveys are done in cooperation with the CDC, but after the fiasco with COVID-19, I would trust them no farther than I could throw them. They didn’t even ask for their parents’ permission or even their knowledge.
A “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” was provided to sixth- and seventh-grade children at Boston’s Eliot K-8 Innovation School, which asked for their sexual orientation and their sexual history. and whether they had ever had suicidal thoughts.
The 54-question survey posed several questions about the children’s sexual activity, including:
“Have you ever had sexual intercourse?”; “With how many people have you ever had sexual intercourse?”; and “The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?”
It also asked students:
“Have you ever participated in oral sex? Oral sex is when a person puts their mouth on another person’s genitals or private area.”
Students were prompted to answer questions about their sexuality and gender, including whether they identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or some other sexuality.
“A transgender person is someone who does not feel the same inside as the sex they were born with. Are you transgender?” the survey asked.
According to the survey’s description, it was voluntary, anonymous, and distributed by Boston Public Schools to “improve health education for young people.”
The surveys are “used to create local and state-level estimates of youth social-emotional well-being, substance use, sexual health, violence, injury, physical activity, nutrition and hunger, and other health risk behaviors,” according to the district’s website. “These data are a vital resource to help guide decision-making and resource allocation for effective prevention and control programs for schools and communities.”
Boston Public Schools press secretary Max Baker told KGAN-TV that the district has distributed the survey for 30 years and to middle schools for 10 years.
In a message to families, the district wrote, “The anonymous survey data helps BPS to improve our practices, policies and resources to best support student health in the areas that the YRBS data show there is the most need.”
“The CDC along with city and state partners work together on the survey. We recognize that some questions on the YRBS could be uncomfortable for some students and families. Sexual behaviors, mental health, suicide, dietary behaviors, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use can be sensitive topics,” the district added.