Thursday, June 23, 2005

Schools sidestepping parents in questioning kids

Picture this: your 6th-grade daughter comes home and mentions that her teacher had a special guest in class today and that guest asked all the students a lot of questions. Wrote them down, even.

What kind of questions?

"How often do you have oral sex?"

If you're thinking that can't happen, think again real hard. It's not only possible, it is happening. And the school and the government agencies doing the questioning are doing their best to keep you in the dark about it.

::::::::When Mark Fisher protested quizzing his 12-year-old daughter about oral sex (among other topics), the school authorities asserted their right to gather such information without his consent.

The questionnaire is not limited to Massachusetts; it is nationwide. And the 'problem' is not the gathering of information but the denial of parental rights and reasonable concerns.

The Shrewsbury questionnaire is part of The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) that was established in 1990 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor youth behaviors that influence health.

The CDC website offers a 22-page version of the YRBS, which consists of 87 questions. Seven questions address sexual behavior. For example, the posted questionnaire asks, "How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?" And, was a condom used?

The CDC's site says that they're gathering information about kids grades 9-12 but reports are in of kids down to 6th grade being surveyed and the schools are refusing to release the actual survey questions to the parents of the kids being surveyed. Vigilance, it is said, is the price of freedom. I never thought I'd have to be keeping an eye on the schools we all pay through the nose to keep operating.