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Graphic survey given to students upsets parents


Brockport, N.Y.- Some parents of students at Brockport Oliver Middle School are not happy after students received a Youth Risk Behavior Survey that involved questions about drugs, alcohol and sexual behavior. 

The parents said they did not know their students were getting the survey. Brockport Oliver Middle School officials said they sent an email to parents, and notes home with the students.

Breslawski said, The survey itself was posted on our website, as was an opt out form if parents were not comfortable to have their children take this survey."

School officials also said the Youth Risk Behavior Survey was developed by the CDC and is administered by other schools in Monroe County.

Cora Finnemore said she didn't know until after the survey was given. "My son and I were driving in the car and he proceeds to tell me he took a survey at school [Tuesday]," she said.

Finnemore said she never received a letter in the mail or an email about the survey.

She decided to go on the schools website to learn more about the survey.

One of the questions was, have you had sexual intercourse? My jaw dropped. My son is 11 years old, in sixth grade and I didn't feel that was an appropriate question," said Finnemore. "I'm thinking what kind of survey is this."

The Brockport Central School District said the survey is anonymous with 90 questions. Questions range from drug, alcohol and tobacco use to questions about explicit sexual experiences like sexting. There were also questions about suicide and bullying.

"I'm upset that my son was uncomfortable with the questions, didn't understand a lot of the questions, said Finnemore. He told me that kids were making fun of the questions afterwards. One of the questions was about oral sex. He said well one of my friends put yes because he thought it was kissing.

The school district said the survey is used nationwide and and is helpful in evaluating student needs.

"We try to identify areas where we see students have a need for support services at school, said Karen Breslawski, Student Assistance Coordinator with Brockport Central School District.

Finnemore said had she known about the survey earlier, she would've chosen to opt her son out. She hopes the school will consider signed forms for the future.

Then you know, that child has gone home, talked with parents, and made a decision as a family, said Finnemore.

The Brockport CSD said they will be considering other methods to make parents aware for the future.

There will also be a parent information night this spring to share the survey results and to talk with parents about strategies they can use at home to decrease risky behavior.



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