May 312015
 
 May 31, 2015  U.S., Youth & Schools

Jessie Shafer reports:

A survey given to students in our region has some parent’s calling our newsroom, asking if the survey questions are a bit too personal.

“I go to church or synagogue… Most days I’m alone at home for an hour or more… A doctor said that I’m overweight.”  These are just a few question on that Jackson County, West Virginia school survey given to 5th thru 12th graders.

One Ripley dad said, “They need to stay out of my business and my kid’s business.”

It’s called a Pride Survey.  It’s an anonymous, national survey funded by a grant through the Jackson County Anti-drug Coalition.  The grant is for $125,000 per year for 5 years, officials said.

Read more on WOWK.

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) was designed to give parents the right to consent (or not consent) to surveys that get into personal details. The problem is that PPRA doesn’t apply to a situation where the survey isn’t funded by the  U.S. Dept. of Education.

In this case, if you watch the video on the news site and look at the survey, you’ll learn that the students’ names are not collected on the form and that a permission form was allegedly sent home that gave parents the opportunity to opt their child out of the survey. But as one parent who was interviewed said, he never saw any form.

Consent for surveys about sensitive information should be opt-in and not opt-out. Schools and agencies count on parents not bothering to opt their children out or never seeing or understanding the forms.

PPRA needs to be amended to expand the protection of parental written opt-in consent  to all surveys involving sensitive information, not just those funded by the federal department of education.

 

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