Thursday, October 06, 2005

Parents: Say No to Student Surveys

Article 8 Alliance is reporting on a recent Education Committee hearing on a bill which would give parents the right to say "No" to their child’s participation in intrusive, suggestive surveys in our schools. Check out the whole report here: "Parents across the state are fighting for the School Survey Consent Bill (S316)."

The testimony brought out many serious problems with these surveys, including: leading questions; emotional exploration of children's' minds, with unknown effects, or no follow-up if children are upset; questions asked in a moral vacuum; unreliable answers; statistically flawed results which can be put to almost any use.

"Earlier this year, Mark Fisher, a father from Shrewsbury, made national news when his 12-year-old daughter's sixth-grade class was asked in a classroom survey: "Have you ever given or received oral sex?" Mr. Fisher also demanded to see the other questions, and the school refused to comply until great pressure was brought on them by the publicity."

Would you want your child answering these questions from the "Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2005)" ?

10. Which of the following best describes you?
a. Heterosexual (straight)
b. Gay or lesbian
c. Bisexual
d. Not sure

...The next 6 questions ask about deliberately hurting yourself, sad feelings, and attempted suicide. Sometimes people feel so depressed about the future that they may consider attempting suicide, that is, taking some action to end their own life.

29. During the past 12 months, how many times did you hurt or injure yourself on purpose without wanting to die? (For example, by cutting, burning, or bruising yourself on purpose.) [Possible answers: from 0 - 20 times]
30. During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?
31. During the past 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide?
32. During the past 12 months, did you make a plan about how you would attempt suicide?
33. During the past 12 months, how many times did you actually attempt suicide? [Possible answers: 0-6 times]
34. If you attempted suicide during the past 12 months, did any attempt result in an injury, poisoning, or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse?

...69. Have you ever had sexual intercourse?
70. How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?
71. During your life, with how many people have you had sexual intercourse?
72. During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse?
73. During your life, the person(s) with whom you have had sexual contact is (are)…
a. I have not had sexual contact with anyone
b. Female(s)
c. Male(s)
d. Female(s) and male(s)
74. Did you drink alcohol or use drugs before you had sexual intercourse the last time?
75. The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?
76. The last time you had sexual intercourse, what one method did you or your partner use to prevent pregnancy? (Select only one response.)