Parents today need to be extra vigilant if they’d like to keep track of all the ideas being placed in their children’s head at school.
Obviously, there are always going to be thoughts and concepts expressed at school that may differ from our own, and in some ways, this can be a good thing for children and help prepare them to navigate the world in which not everyone will share their worldview.
There are multiple ideological viewpoints, however, and then there are topics that are just flat-out inappropriate, like asking a student about their sexual orientation.
The ways that children are being exposed to concepts like gender identity and sexual orientation are getting more and more outrageously sneaky, too. Many schools include these sensitive, often age-inappropriate concepts in programs titled to indicate that they are simply meant to prevent bullying, self-harm, or promote mental health.
This seems to be what happened to a North Carolina mother when, despite being warned of a certain survey on sexual orientation and taking measures to ensure her son was not made to be asked about his sexual orientation, she was misled into signing a consent form that resulted in just that.
ABC 11 reports:
The mother of a Terrell Lane sixth-grader is upset after a survey given to her son included a question asking about his sexual orientation.
“Why are you asking 11-year olds these questions?” asked Connie Jo Hutchinson.
The program is called Shifting Boundaries, which is funded through a federal grant. In the survey handed out to students, the sixth question asks “What is your sexual orientation?”
It lists 10 possible options: Bisexual, Gay, Fluid, Heterosexual, Lesbian, Pansexual, Queer, Questioning, Prefer not to disclose, and Self-identify.
After hearing murmurs of the content of the survey, Hutchinson said she called the school to see if the question would be included.
She said the school said that was not part of the program, but Hutchinson’s son said the question was included.
Hutchinson does not see the educational value in posing the question.
“I think it is a very sensitive subject, and it is given to these children in a very insensitive way. It is not treated as something as personal, and private, and precious. Because it is,” Hutchinson explained.
Parents had to opt-in their children to the program, but Hutchinson says the consent form was misleading.
“I’m angry, because … I expect to be informed, and I don’t feel like I gave informed consent,” said Hutchinson.
The consent form described Shifting Boundaries as “a dating violence prevention program,” with a focus on “awareness of sexual harassment and teen-dating violence.”
Hutchinson says that she was able to meet with her son’s principal and that he was receptive to her concerns and appeared to be proactive in addressing them.
She hopes that moving forward, consent forms will be more clear to parents so that they can address these sensitive topics themselves.
“I didn’t know that he was going to have to do a survey. I thought they were talking to pre-teens about maybe dating or how to treat each other. These are kids on the cusp of wanting those romantic relationships. And I want to be able to have those conversations with him when he comes home,” she explained.