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Weber School District teacher on leave over ‘questionable’ survey given to students

ROY, Utah — A Roy High School teacher is on leave, and the Weber School District is apologizing after they said students were given an "inappropriate" survey last week that asked questions about drug and alcohol use, sexual history and relationships.

The survey, which is included in this blog and confirmed by the Weber School District, included a list of 30 questions, with a rating score assigned to each question. Students then added up the score, and were placed on a scale based on their score.

Reilley Stringham, a junior at Roy High, is in the Adult Roles class where the survey was handed out.

"We're learning about ourselves right now, and our self esteem and our values," Stringham said, of the course.

Last week, she said her class filled out the survey and turned it in, with their names on the paper.

"It made me uncomfortable," she said.

Here's a partial list of the questions:

  • Ever gone out with a member of the opposite sex?
  • Ever been kissed while in a reclining position?
  • Ever taken off most of your clothes while parking?
  • Do you smoke pot?
  • Do you drink alcohol or beer now and then?
  • Have you ever tried Angel Dust (Hard drugs: i.e.: Ecstasy)?
  • Have you ever had sex without using a contraceptive?
  • Have you (your girl) ever had an abortion?
  • Even though you are straight, would you go kinky to see what it's like

Each question has a number attached, that are then added up for points. Students with a low score are listed as "A nerd," or "Pure as Ivory soap and maybe a fruitcake." Students with a higher score match up on the scale as "Headed for serious trouble," "Already there," and "Hopeless and condemned."

"I was just blown away. I was shocked," said Marisa Stringham, Reilley's mother.

She said she had no idea at first that this was an assignment her daughter filled out for school, until another parent brought it to her attention.

"In 2017, this teacher should know better," Stringham said.

Stringham said she was angry about one particular question that asked the student if they have ever been kissed against their will-- because she said it shames people who have been sexually assaulted.

Marisa also said the question that states, "Even though you are straight," is hurtful to LGBTQ youth. That question carried a high amount of points on the deviancy scale.

"Telling kids that they are hopeless and condemned... that's appalling to me," she said.

Reilley said that as students at school discussed the quiz, some said their score wasn't good.

"Kids... felt really insecure after taking that test​​," Reilley said.

After another parent complained about the quiz to the school, the Weber School District said it launched an investigation and placed the teacher on paid administrative leave, which is standard in investigations.

Lane Findlay, Weber School District Community Relations and Safety Specialist, said this survey should not have been part of the curriculum.

He said it's against state law and district policy to ask students questions about sexual orientation, behavior and activity, or about criminal and delinquent behaviors.

"We apologize," Findlay said. "It's inappropriate. It's outside what the normal curriculum would be, so we feel bad that students were exposed to that."

Findlay said it appears the quiz originated in 1981 from a "Dear Abby" column, and the school district is working to figure out how it ended up in the curriculum, how many students took the quiz, how long this survey's been handed out to students and why it was given to those taking the class.

Findlay said they are working to ensure no student in the future is given this quiz again.

The school district sent this letter to parents:

It was recently brought to our attention that a questionable survey was distributed to students at Roy High School.  The survey was given to juniors as an assignment in an Adult Roles concurrent enrollment course as part of a lesson on risky behavior in dating.  The course provides instruction in human sexuality, which requires parental consent prior to participating in the course.

While the course itself contains instruction in human sexuality to which parents consented, the survey that was distributed to students elicited information about sexually explicit activities and delinquent behavior, and parental consent was not obtained for this particular set of questions, as is required by state and federal law.

This matter is being taken very seriously and the teacher has been placed on administrative leave while the situation is being investigated.  The federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendments to the Family Education Right to Privacy Act, as well as Utah state law prohibits surveys that elicit information about a student’s sexual behaviors, orientation, attitudes, and involvement in any illegal or incriminating behavior (20 U.S.C. §1232h, Utah 53A-13-302.) Moreover, Utah State Board Rule R277-515 and our district policy (Policy 7900) expect teachers to use professional judgment and discretion in providing age-appropriate material to students.

Officials from Weber School District and Roy High School want to extend our sincere apology to the students who were asked to complete this questionnaire, as well as their parents and we assure you this survey will not be used in the future

Our district takes great pride in providing quality education to over 31,000 students in Weber County.  Although we strive for a standard of perfection in teaching, occasionally mistakes are made.  In such cases, it will be dealt with appropriately, always with the best interests of our students in mind.