A Massachusetts town is amassed in controversy after seventh grade students at Memorial Middle School in Fitchburg, MA were forced to answer questions about their sexual history.
Students as young as 12 years old were told they had to fill-out a Youth Risk Behavior Assessment form, which, among other things, asked if they’d ever had oral sex and what method of protection they used last.
“You’re talking about kids who probably don’t even know what oral sex is,” outraged parent Arlene Tessitore tells Fox News.
Tessitore says that one of her daughters was told she had to partake in the questionnaire despite objecting because the school operates on a form of “passive consent” –students bring home permission forms and, if they are not returned with explicit approval, than permission is simply assumed.
Now two of Tessitore’s daughters have filed a complaint with the US Department of Education against the Fitchburg School Committee. They are being assisted with the help of The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization.
Principal Fran Thomas tells Fox News Radio that the school is required to administer the survey in order to meet requirements that allow for funding through a federal grant. Thomas says it was administered by a local social services agency in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control. While admitting that the survey was indeed handed out, Thomas claims that he “can take no responsibility for what’s on that survey.”
“It was not optional,” says Thomas. “It’s part of a grant that they applied for and the district said you have to administer this survey.”
John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute tells Fox the survey “goes down a whole list” of questions, including ones about birth control pills and condoms.
“One of the answers is ‘withdraw,’” says Whitehead. “Adults know what this is, but kids have to imagine or go online to find out what it means.”
In response, Principal Thomas says, “That’s not a question I’d be asking.”
The risk assessment also included questions about suicide and drug use, and Whitehead says the Tessitore children were deeply disturbed by it.