Letter: Moral and behavioral implications of Healthy Kids Survey
As a parent of a local middle school student in Eagle County, I’m urging parents to take note of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey being administered to children in middle schools throughout Colorado. The survey includes many controversial and personal questions that many parents feel are inappropriate for their children. Parents are not well informed about the nature of the survey and often provide their consent by not responding to a notice (“passive consent.”)
The survey is 13 pages long and includes 100 questions. The inappropriate questions to 11 to 14 year old children include:
- Have you ever had a sexual experience where you were unsure if you gave your fully-granted consent to the other person?”
- During the past 12 months, has a revealing or sexual photo or video of you been texted, emailed, or posted electronically without your permission.”
- Have you ever made a plan about how you would kill yourself.”
- The last time you had intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom.”
- How long would it take you to get and be ready to fire a loaded gun without the parent permission?
The nature of the questions raise many concerns for parents. Is the parental approval process effective for parents to know and understand what is being asked of their children? Do some of the questions create legal jeopardy for children or parents? Do the nature of the questions imply “normalcy” for young children when asked in public schools?
Parental responsibility and choices for their children’s well-being should always be paramount. What can be done?
Parents should call their school principal immediately and ask for a copy of the survey and withhold consent if they choose. Questions on the survey should have a response choice: “I choose not to answer.” Also, school boards should require that positive parental consent be obtained for children taking the survey.
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Stephen Douglas Daniels