Parents of sixth-graders in Texas’ Gatesville school district are livid after officials administered a survey with probing personal questions about everything from sex, drugs and STDs to suicide, bullying, and sleep patterns.
Survey given to local middle school students with questions about sex, drugs, alcohol and birth control raises paren https://t.co/lsrAfzw4zY
— KWTX News 10 (@kwtx) December 13, 2019
“We made a mistake,” Gatesville Superintendent Barrett Pollard told KWTX on Friday. “We understand why parents are upset and we are apologizing and trying to make things right.”
The survey, distributed to both junior high and high school students, was conducted last week in coordination with the Coryell County Health Department. Students as young as 11 years old were asked to complete the 21 questions, but district officials didn’t bother to warn parents beforehand and many complained to local media.
Some of the questions:
“What type of weapon do you carry?” with options including “Gun,” “Knife,” “Club” or “Other.”
“Do you carry a weapon to school?” Yes or no.
“Has your boyfriend/ girlfriend ever forced you to do sexual things?” Available answers included “Kiss,” “Touch,” “Sex,” “Pictures,” “Videos,” or “Other” with space to write in.
“Do you drink alcohol?”
“Do you use marijuana?”
“Do you use meth?”
“Have you ever used?” with options including “Cocaine,” “Heroine,” “Ecstasy,” “Synthetic Marijuana,” “Steroids” or “Other.”
“Do you use condoms for birth control/ STD prevention?”
Parents who contacted KWTX claimed the surveys introduced students to an array of vices and bad behavior, through questions some didn’t even understand.
Others complained about the district’s failure to inform parents beforehand, which could have provided an opportunity to opt out of the survey.
Barbie Klecka told KXXV she would have preferred to broach the sensitive subjects with her two kids in Gatesville schools herself, so she’s not happy district officials left her out of the loop.
“I need to be the one to make that decision, not the school for me,” she said.
“All kids can’t handle that yet, and for one of my children, it would very much overwhelm him,” Klacka said. “He wouldn’t understand it.”
Gatesville Superintendent Barrett Pollard issued a prepared statement to the media that promised to put the kibosh on the optional survey and destroy the questionnaires that students have submitted so far.
“We will not have any surveys like that in the future, and will be tossing the other surveys that have already been done,” Pollard wrote.
He also sent a letter to parents.
“In hindsight, we should have sent a permission letter home to parents informing them of the survey and the nature of the questions,” Pollard wrote. “The parents could have then made an informed decision as to whether or not to have their child participate in the survey … so we apologize again for not informing our parents in advance of the survey.”