Let the kids be kids.
A Windsor parent was shocked to find out her daughter had taken a survey in her fifth-grade class that asked questions about students’ sexual history, preference and gender identity.
“My daughter is 10. So are all the other kids who took this,” said Vanessa Beach. “A sexual partner at 10 years old would be called sexual abuse.”
Beach said she did not take issue with the topics of gender identity and sexuality being discussed in the classroom, but thought the survey was an invasion of her daughter’s privacy and asked questions that were not appropriate for her age range.
The survey was done by WISE, a domestic violence prevention and advocacy group that runs educational programs in Windsor schools.
A notice had been sent to parents about the survey, which gave them the opportunity to opt-out of having their children participate.
However, Beach said she never received the form.
A researcher connected to the survey said so-called “passive-consent” policies were common in Vermont.
A WISE official said students are told before the survey is distributed they are not required to take it and can choose not to without consequence.
According to a WISE representative, the questions on the survey were developed with researchers from the University of New Hampshire with whom they were sharing the data collected.
Beach said she had voiced her concerns to the school, including the guidance department and had reached out to WISE.
School administrators said they had heard some of the parental complaints and are working on addressing them.