A middle school in Boston, Massachusetts is facing backlash from parents after students were made to participate in a survey about their “gender identity” and sexual activity.
The New York Post reports that the incident took place at Eliot K-8 Innovation School. Last Thursday, school principal Traci Griffith sent an email to all parents stating that she had received “many concerns” about the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey.”
The survey was given to students in the 6th and 7th grades, and featured 54 questions in total. Administered by Boston Public Schools, the questions focused on such topics as “transgenderism,” suicide, bullying, drug use, sexual activity, weight, and exercise.
One of the survey’s top questions reads: “A transgender person is someone who does not feel the same inside as the sex they were born with. Are you transgender?” Another question asked students if they have “ever participated in oral sex,” while another asked if they have “seriously thought” about committing suicide.
Jill Carter, executive director of the school district’s Office of Health and Wellness, announced that parents will be able to publicly voice their concerns about the incident during a virtual meeting on Thursday.
One mother, Deirdre Hall, denounced the survey as “entirely inappropriate” since many of the students didn’t even understand the terms or concepts about which they were being asked, including her sixth-grade daughter.
“She said half her class didn’t even know what any of this stuff meant,” Hall described. “Now they’re coming home and asking their parents and their friends, ‘What’s oral sex?’”
Another parent anonymously said that she was “outraged” by the survey, as well as the fact that parents were not informed of the survey in advance.
“To go on field trips the district has parents sign permission slips, but for the district to ask our children private explicit sexual questions they are able to do so without consent?” the mother asked rhetorically. “This makes no sense.”
There have been similar incidents of young students being asked inappropriate questions by school officials and surveys across the country, in at least 37 different states, according to research conducted by the watchdog group Parents Defending Education (PDE).