Parents alarmed by school’s fifth-grade survey on sexual history, preference and gender identity

Parents in Windsor, Vermont, are upset about a survey given to fifth-graders that asked students about their sexual history, preferences and gender identity, WPTZ-TV reported.

What was said?

“My daughter is 10. So are all the other kids who took this,” said Vanessa Beach, a parent. “A sexual partner at 10-years-old would be called sexual abuse.”
Beach told the TV station she felt the survey violated her daughter’s privacy and included questions that were not appropriate for children her age. Students were not required to write their name on the survey, but were asked to write their first initial and birthday – which could easily reveal their identity.
The concerned parent said she believes promoting respect toward LGBTQ people is appropriate. But Beach also said she worries that her daughter’s class may have felt pressured to answer questions about sex-related issues before they were ready.
Beach said she would want a child to be completely secure in who they are before filling out a survey that could make them feel uncomfortable or ashamed.
The survey was conducted by WISE, a “a domestic violence prevention and advocacy group that runs educational programs in Windsor schools,” according to the report.
The Windsor school district reportedly sent out a parental permission form for the survey, but Beach said she didn’t receive one. The form allowed parents to have their children opt-out.
A spokesperson for WISE told the TV station students  are also told they can refuse to take the survey without any consequences. WISE and researchers from the University of New Hampshire developed it.
Beach said she appreciates the work WISE does to promote awareness about domestic violence. But she complained to the company, the school and its guidance department about the survey.

What is the district doing?

School administrators acknowledged that the district received complaints and is working to address them, according to the report.
The WISE spokesperson told WPTZ they hope the concerns raised by parents will open a door for discussions about their work.
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