Sixth-graders quizzed about sexual orientation

Posted at 2:55 PM, Jan 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-14 14:55:49-05

BOURBON, MO (KMOV/CNN) - Parents of students at Bourbon Middle School are outraged over questions asked in a survey filled out by sixth-graders on Thursday. 

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

It's a survey done by the state Department of Mental Health every other year to learn about teen behavior 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," Samantha Overkramer said. "My daughter, I mean she just doesn't understand that."

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

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.

This survey has even raised concerns for some sixth-graders.

"He thought it was incredibly inappropriate," parents Shane Burns said. "He was worried about some of the kids had no idea what the stuff was and now they know. It's kind of a parent's choice to introduce that kind of subject matter."

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

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