Most parents send their children to public school expecting teachers to guide them through the intricacies of Algebra, the rules of grammar, and the wonder of the world around us in science and social studies.

They do not expect their child to be subjected to a battery of questions about their most personal thoughts, feelings and concerns – without the opportunity to discuss the “questionnaire” with their parents.

Now, after parents have learned about the topics covered in the latest “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” prepared by the Center for Disease Control and administered by state education departments in the classroom, a group has introduced legislation in Massachusetts requiring parental notification and consent, as well as an “opt-out” option before the surveys can be given in the classroom.

The questionnaire subjects middle school students as young as 12-years-old with age-inappropriate questions that many may not even understand, putting them under pressure to participate and even fabricate answers to the sexually graphic and psychologically probing questions.

In addition to asking specific questions about students’ sexual activity, the questionnaire requires them to confess any criminal activity, and although the surveys are “officially” anonymous and voluntary, it is difficult to imagine a 12-year-old feeling empowered to refuse in the classroom setting.

The phrasing of the questions, reminiscent of the old, “When did you stop beating your wife?” joke, has also concerned parents who say it presents only a “Yes” response, such as “How old were you when you first had sexual intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal)?”

Some of the questions include whether the student is transgender, how often and with whom they have sexual relations.

A parent may well wonder why their 12-year-old child would have any reason to feel compelled to answer these questions, under the guise of “student health issues.”

The survey asks how often the student carries a weapon, how old they were when they tried nicotine products, the most alcoholic drinks they’ve consumed in a 4-hour timeframe, and how often they drive drunk.

Drug questions involve the use of marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, and prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin.

The bill in the Massachusetts House is stalled.



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