Wednesday, June 22, 2005
"How often does your 6th-grade daughter have oral sex?"The other questions on The Youth Risk Behavior Surveilance System concerned drug and alcohol use, and included questions that would self-incriminate respondents of criminal charges. Wendy McElroy continues:
If the question offends you, then talk to the school officials at Shrewsbury, Mass. But don't expect a sympathetic response.
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.
That is what Fisher is demanding of the Massachusetts' Department of Education: active parental involvement. At this point, state law requires parents to explicitly exempt their children from programs involving sexuality. Fisher is fighting for a bill that requires parental permission before children are included.McElroy suggests gettng your kids out of public schools. Short of that, getting involved and being "a genuine pain in the tuckus" is a good idea.
Explicit permission is particularly important in situations where parents seem to be � in Fisher's words � "kept in the dark."
School committee President Deborah Peeples reportedly explained that parents are permitted to view the survey but they are not allowed to take a copy home. Why? "It might be misinterpreted or misunderstood or they could use it to direct their children's responses," Peeples said.
In short, parents might discuss the sexual (and other) topics with their children.
(h/t: reader jw)