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Questions for 6th graders on gender identity, drug use outrage parents


BOURBON, Missouri —

Some 11-year-olds in Missouri were asked questions about their sexual orientation and whether they want to change genders.

The questions were part of a survey from the state and also included the topics of drug use and suicide. Some parents are outraged, especially since the school district could have opted out of the survey.

Parent Courtney West said, “A lot of that was completely ridiculous for an 11-year-old to have to answer.”

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It’s a survey done by the state department of mental health every other year to learn about teen behavior, in order to tailor prevention programs. But parents believe the students are too young for such personal questions.

“The most inappropriate one was if they were transgender or thought about changing genders,” said parent Samantha Overkramer. “My daughter, I mean she just doesn’t understand that.”

The school sent home a letter saying that students “did not have to answer any questions on the survey that made them feel uncomfortable.”

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But parents said students were told they had to answer all questions or they’d be in trouble.

The letter also said, “School districts are not provided with the survey questions prior to giving the survey to students.”

But the department of mental health said districts don’t have to take the survey and can actually opt out of sections. Districts would have to know the questions to do that.

Because of parents’ complaints, questions on sexual orientation have been removed from any future surveys in the district.

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