BOSTON (WHDH) - Some parents in Boston are concerned about a survey their children were given at school, saying the personal and sexual nature of some of the questions isn’t appropriate for kids in middle school.
There was meeting scheduled between parents and the school district to discuss the survey Thursday night, though it was later canceled.
One mother spoke to 7NEWS, saying she is upset about the situation. But according to the Boston Public Schools, this survey aims to help students.
“I didn’t think it was the appropriate topics to be asking these kids,” North End mother Deirdre Hall said.
Hall said her daughter was among a group of sixth graders at the Eliot School in Boston given a youth risk behavior survey last week.
“She said ‘Well, one of them asked if I had ever had intercourse,’” Hall said of a conversation with her daughter about questions on the survey.
Hall said that information “sort of floored me” because of her child’s grade level.
According to Hall, the 54-question survey about health behavior didn’t stop there.
“‘Do you ever feel like you’re a different gender on the inside?’” Hall said of one question.
Hall said her daughter told her another question asked if she had ever had oral sex.
“[A]nd then, in parentheses, it explained what that was because she had never heard that term before,” Hall said.
In a letter to the Eliot School community, the head of the Office of Health and Wellness for the Boston Public Schools said “BPS has administered this survey for the past 30 years, including 10 years in middle schools, and it has been informative for the district and families for how we can best support our students.”
Boston city councilor at-large and former teacher Erin Murphy said parents and teachers have reached out to her with concerns.
“I agreed that for 11, 12-year-olds, some of the questions definitely did not need to be asked or spelled out the way they were,” Murphy said in an interview.
A letter from the Eliot School’s family council and governing board said the decision to cancel the meeting between parents and the school district on Thursday was made because the growing conversation had become “counterproductive for our school community.”
As for Hall, she is hoping for a productive path forward.
“I’m all about talking to our kids about these topics and I think it’s important for them to learn about them,” Hall said. “But I don’t think that putting a survey in front of them which explained these concepts that they had never heard about before was the right way to do that.”
There was no word as of Thursday night on when the meeting between parents and the school district will be rescheduled.
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