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Obermeyer misses point on MCCSC sex survey

By Scott Tibbs. Submitted to the Indiana Daily Student on April 14, 2005

To the Editor:

Amy Obermeyer missed some critical issues in her column about the sex survey being administered by MCCSC. First, the survey is going to children as young as ten years old. Does anyone really think it is appropriate to ask ten-year-olds questions about oral and anal sex without parental guidance? I hope that Obermeyer at least read a copy of the survey before she wrote her column. I am also disappointed that Indiana University is funding this survey.

MCCSC has decided to use "passive permission" for this survey. They will send out a letter to parents telling them about the survey. Parents who do not want their children to take this survey can then opt out, but if MCCSC does not hear from parents they will assume that permission has been granted.

A major problem with this survey is that it may be illegal. The Indiana Code (IC 20-10.1-4), states that a student shall not be required to participate in such a survey "without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor) or the prior written consent of the student's parent or guardian (if the student is an unemancipated minor)."

I attended a meeting of concerned citizens and parents the evening before Obermeyer's column was published in the IDS. (This was a meeting, by the way, that neither the Herald-Times nor the Indiana Daily Student bothered to cover.) About 35 parents and concerned citizens expressed frustration with MCCSC that they are attempting to do an end run around parents with this survey. Even many teachers are opposed to this survey.

This is not the first time that MCCSC has attempted such an end run, nor is it even the most egregious. Last year at this time, MCCSC and Planned Parenthood held a series of meetings on teen sex. MCCSC was determined to prevent any adults from observing the discussion they facilitated with teenagers, allowing only one adult into the room to observe. Is it any wonder that Monroe County parents resent what appears to be an attempt by MCCSC to usurp parental authority?

Scott Tibbs
1998 IU Alumnus