A team of lawyers who advocate for parental rights is working with parents whose children attend Ventura High School in Southern California to raise a formal objection after teachers had students fill out a survey on sex with questions such as “Are you sexually active” and “If not, why not?”
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, said the first step will be to file an administrative complaint.
“The parents have tried to reason with school officials about this, but so far administrators have failed to grasp that giving the students this survey without prior written notice and consent was illegal,” he said.
The survey was reported in the student Cougar Press in December. The report apparently was not included as part of the paper’s ordinary online presentation, officials said, but was obtained by a parent who posted the pages only for other parents to see.
The newspaper, in addition to the sex survey results, included a page of photographs of students revealing what songs put them “in the mood,” a sex crossword puzzle and other advocacy for being sexually active.
A school spokesman said officials could not comment.
Part of a Ventura, Calif., high school survey of student sex
Dacus told WND schools should know that parents need to be able to trust their schools for the education system to work.
“When parental trust is breached, then school districts end up losing that participation,” he said. “If school districts … want to be successful, they have to respect the rights of parents and not be caught doing things behind the backs of parents.”
He said the primary issue is that a state law forbids such sex surveys without parental knowledge.
He said the problem only was revealed because a student took a copy home, in violation of instructions she was given, and some parents found out.
The questions included:
- What grade were you in when you lost your virginity?
- What is your overall number of partners you have engaged in sexual activity with?
- Were you sober the first time you engaged in sexual activity?”
- Have you or your partner ever had an abortion?”
- How often do you engage in sexual activity?”
- Are your parents aware of your sexual activity?
Pacific Justice said that according to the newspaper, the survey was given to 1,000 students in every grade in high school. The organization said it was administered with the knowledge and assistance of the high school during second class period and had no relationship to any subject the students were enrolled in at that time.
“The school allowed the use of instructional time to administer the survey and the teachers then collected it and handed it over to the newspaper,” said parent John Silva, who obtained a copy of the newspaper from a concerned student.
“Because the sex survey was given without prior written notice and subsequent written consent by the parents or guardians, the school violated the law,” said Kevin Snider, chief counsel of the Pacific Justice Institute.
“By facilitating the newspaper to conduct the survey, we feel the school was complicit in violating the rights of the parents,” said Julie Wilson, a parent of a high school student.