Parents outraged after 6th-graders given survey on drug use, gender identity

"The most inappropriate one was if they were transgender or thought about changing genders”

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ST. LOUIS (WFLA) — Some parents in Missouri are outraged after sixth-grade students were given a survey with questions on drug use, sexual orientation, suicide and gender identity.

Students at Bourbon Middle School were given the survey on Thursday. The State Department of Mental Health gives the survey every other year to learn more about teenage behavior.

It helps the department tailor prevention programs, but parents say the students are too young for such personal questions.

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

The school sent a letter home on Friday that said students didn’t have to answer questions that made them uncomfortable. But parents tell KMOV that students were told they had to answer all questions or they would be in trouble.

The school’s letter also claims districts are not given the questions before they give the survey to students. But the Department of Mental Health says district don’t have to take the survey and can even opt out of sections.

Parent Shane Burns says his sixth-grade student thought the questions were “incredibly inappropriate.”

“What he was worried about is some of the kids that had no idea what any of that stuff was,” Burns said. “Now they know. And that’s kind of a parent’s choice to introduce that kind of subject matter.”

Due to complaints from parents, KMOV says questions on sexual orientation have been removed from any future surveys in the district.

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