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US school under fire for surveying 7th graders on oral sex

June 16, 2011 - Washington

A middle school in the US has come under fire after it asked children to complete a graphic sex survey that included questions about sexual partners and oral sex.

The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization, filed a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education against the Fitchburg School Committee after students at Memorial Middle School in Massachusetts were told they had to complete the Youth Risk Behaviour Study.

"Kids were actually told to sit down and take them. The parents here are very upset," Fox News quoted John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, as saying.

Whitehead said the girls were deeply disturbed by the subject matter of the study - including questions about suicide, drug use and sexual behaviour.

"One of the questions is, 'have you ever had oral sex'. You're talking about kids who probably don't even know what oral sex is," Whitehead said.

He said the survey also delved into even more graphic language.

Principal Fran Thomas said that students were indeed given the survey, and admits it was graphic, but added the school had nothing to do with the content as they were required to administer the survey to fulfil a grant requirement. I can take no responsibility for what's on that survey. It's not generated by the school system," Thomas stated.

Thomas said the survey was funded by a federal grant and administered by LUK Inc., a local social services agency-in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control.

A spokesperson for the CDC denied any involvement in the Fitchburg sex survey.

The CDC said only seven states and six urban districts include sexual identity questions on their YRBS surveys - and the questions are optional. But Thomas disputed that notion.

"It was not optional. It's part of a grant that they applied for and the district said you have to administer this survey," Thomas stated.

Whitehead wants the Department of Education to step in and demand that the Fitchburg school follow the law when it comes to parental consent.

"Parents send their children to public schools to receive An Education; not to become subjects of governmental data mining," Whitehead added.


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