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Parents meet to oppose MCCSC sex survey

By Scott Tibbs, April 13, 2005

I attended the meeting of concerned parents and citizens at Grandview Elementary last night who were looking for ways to respond to the MCCSC sex survey. The Herald-Times neglected to send a reporter to the meeting, so ConservaTibbs.com has the scoop.

About 35 people attended the meeting, all of whom were opposed to MCCSC administering this survey to children as young as 10 years old. When Brian Lemonds asked those in the audience who supported the survey to raise their hands, no one did. When he asked who opposed the survey, every hand in the room went up. The members of the MCCSC School Board were invited to this meeting, but none of them showed up.

The survey (which is being funded by Indiana University) was initiated after two local doctors saw an increase in sexually transmitted diseased among younger teens and alerted MCCSC. This led to meetings on the subject of teen sexuality. In an extraordinary display of arrogance, MCCSC was determined to exclude parents from the meeting they had with teens on sex issues.

Lemonds suggested that parents and concerned citizens should be at the School Board meeting on May 3 and express their concerns publicly. MCCSC is using "passive" permission for this survey. MCCSC will mail letters to parents telling them about the survey. If parents do not respond saying that they do not give permission for their child to participate, MCCSC will assume that permission is granted. After reading a portion of the Indiana Code that requires prior written permission of the parents for surveys such as this one, Lemonds suggested that parents can sue MCCSC over the use of "passive permission".

An MCCSC teacher said that the proposed health curriculum for fifth grade has information on oral sex. (The current curriculum does not.) If that curriculum is adopted, this survey will have the cover of being academically related. She suggested that parents get involved in the choice of curriculum.

Another concerned citizen said that we do not need more data on what children are doing, because we have plenty of data on that. He said we need solutions on how to deal with it. He also suggested that if enough parents refuse to grant permission for the survey, it could be statistically invalid because it would not include a wide enough cross-section of students.

Another parent said that he was annoyed that the School Board dropped a grenade in his lap with this survey and they have forced sex issues to be discussed with younger children. He expressed frustration that the more parents protest, the more it is a topic of discussion, but if parents do not protest, MCCSC will do more and more without them.

After this meeting was over, it was clear to me that there are many parents who are very displeased with MCCSC for conducting this survey, especially considering that it is going to children as young as 10 years old. I doubt that the people of Monroe County have forgotten about the $6.8 million property tax hike that the School Board wanted in 1999, a tax hike that was overwhelmingly defeated in a referendum. The more MCCSC tries to usurp the role of local parents, the less supportive parents and taxpayers will be to giving them more money.