Warning: Graphic content included below
It’s happened again. Another disturbing example of public schools and advocacy groups intruding into areas they shouldn’t without parental notification and permission.
This time a Washington, D.C., middle school (Hardy Middle School) is eliciting heartfelt, and even tearful, complaints from parents for distributing a sexually graphic survey to kids as young as 11 or 12 years old. (Parents found out about the survey too late to ask for permission to exempt their children from taking it.)
First of all, the survey asked the children to indicate their gender, giving them an array of choices including “Transgender (M to F)” and “Transgender (F to M)”. The survey then asked “How do you identify yourself?”, giving children choices such as “Bisexual” and “Not sure/questioning” and “Other.”
Parents are raising concerns about age-appropriateness. After all, how many 11 year olds do you know who understand what a male-to-female transgender is? But that’s not even the worst of it. The survey also included explicit questions, such as:
*”How sure are you that you … Know the difference between oral, vaginal, and anal sex?”
*”How sure are you that you … Can convince a reluctant partner to use barrier protection (i.e., condoms, dental dams) during sex?”
*“How old were you the first time you had sex (oral, vaginal, or anal sex)?”
According to this news report, some of the children were emotionally distraught, even traumatized, by questions that confused them and introduced them to adult topics they did not understand. Some children reportedly had to ask for definitions.
“Children ventured guesses as the instructor—brought in on a DCPS [DC Public Schools] contract—started to define ‘anal sex’ and ‘oral sex.’ ” Afterward, “upset parents called, texted and e-mailed each other to try to understand what had happened. One child was so upset by the test, a parent told The Georgetown Dish, he hyperventilated.”
The survey was developed by a local advocacy group called Metro TeenAIDS, which thus far has remained unapologetic, telling Fox News that most of those 12-year-olds are much more experienced sexually than parents might think. (The group might want to check its stats on that—Focus’ sexual health analyst, Chad Hills, says that statistics from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey show that, actually, only about 6 percent of all children nationally report having had sexual intercourse before age 13. Hardly a majority that warrants giving every 7th grader a sexually explicit survey.
But this illustrates a larger trend that’s frightening—it’s yet another example in a growing list of incidents involving public schools and advocacy groups foisting a highly sexualized, adult agenda onto young children in the name of trying to protect them—whether their parents like it or not. ( It brings to mind, for instance, the recent controversy in Helena, Montana, where a school board wanted to introduce condom instruction to 5th graders and homosexuality lessons to kids as young as first grade. Or the survey given to high school students in Wisconsin a few years back, which asked them: “If you have never slept with someone of your same gender, then how do you know you wouldn’t prefer it?”)
At Focus on the Family, we believe parents are the ones who have the most intimate knowledge of their children—and as such they should have the legal authority to direct when, how and if their young children are exposed to controversial and personalized sexual questions. Schools and
advocacy groups are not the ones who comfort these children at night, after they’ve felt their privacy and innocence grossly invaded and overstepped by strangers in their public school classroom during the day.
So the question must continue to be raised, do “surveys” like these actually protect kids—or further desensitize them in a way that makes them more vulnerable to violations of sexual boundaries?