Parents of students who attend schools in Loudoun County, Va., are angry and frustrated after officials did not notify them in advance about a survey that was administered to their children that asked, among other things, about their gender identity and their sex lives.
The state Department of Health developed the Virginia Youth Survey and, according to regulations, parents must be given written notification by the school at least 30 days prior to the survey being given to students. In addition, the rules state that parents have the right to both review the survey and opt their children out of taking it.
However, Fox News reported, officials at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville administered the survey without notifying parents, according to a statement to the network from Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).
Among the questions on the survey, which was administered to high school students, were, “Are you transgender?”, “Have you ever had sexual intercourse?”, “Have you been tested for a sexually transmitted disease?”, and “[W]ith how many people have you had sexual intercourse?”
Students are reportedly not required to put their names on the surveys and they are also allowed to skip any questions they don’t feel like answering.
Some parents in Loudoun County weren’t notified their children were taking a survey that asks students details about their sex life & more.
Some parents tell @7NewsDC they are livid and sickened.
Story: https://t.co/wUHWIIxgiz pic.twitter.com/KK5vLa2icl
— Nick Minock (@NickMinock) November 17, 2021
A description of the survey from the state health department notes it is a “statewide surveillance system that monitors health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults. The survey is conducted every other year during the fall in randomly elected high schools and middle schools.”
The mother of one Loudoun County student who asked not to be identified told WJLA that she was both “livid and sickened” by the questions. She added that her 14-year-old daughter texted her while she was taking the survey and said she felt very “uncomfortable” about some of the questions.
The mother responded by telling her daughter to “skip the questions,” but added that the “damage had already been done, the innocence lost.”
Bill Gulgert, the school’s assistant principal, noted in an email to parents that the survey was handed out “without families being sent an opt-out form,” adding that the school “regrets this error.”
“We have communicated with the Virginia Population Health Surveys Coordinator and they have removed data collected from these surveys,” Gulgert noted further. “Again, we apologize for this error. Loudoun Valley High School respects the right of parents to be notified in such matters. I wanted you to know that this data will not be used.”
The mother who spoke off-the-record said that the assistant principal told her they had “never notified parents in the past” about the survey and that officials were not aware that parental notification was a requirement, but LCPS officials disputed that claim.
“All LCPS have notified parents in the past when this optional survey was administered,” an LCPS spokesperson told Fox News. “We regret the error that was made at Loudoun Valley and notified the school community about our error in a timely manner.”
Missteps, sexual assault allegations, and differences over curriculum including critical race theory put Loudoun County schools front and center during the recent gubernatorial race. Parental rights issues were championed by GOP candidate, now governor-elect, Glenn Youngkin, and were credited with his victory.
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