Fairfax County Surveys Students' Sex Lives

Article excerpt


In April, 1 in 5 luckless students in the 10th and 12th grades of the Fairfax County Public School system (FCPS) will be asked anonymously "The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?" and "Did you drink alcohol or use drugs before you had sexual intercourse the last time?" and ... well, we parents can't know all the questions because FCPS - "we encourage parental involvement" - refuses to publish them on its Web site.

Alerted by The Washington Times report to this egregious student survey about drugs, depression, suicide, and sex, and with children in the target grades, I called my School Board representative to voice my objection. When she told me she fully supported the survey, I asked how she would react to the government asking her how many times she'd had sexual intercourse during the past month. She replied with the non-sequitur that I wasn't about to change her mind and she wasn't about to change mine. I refrained from commenting that I could never change something she had clearly lost.

Beginning with the School Board representative, and navigating my way through FCPS administrative offices with names like the Department of Special Services, the director of student services, and the "Safe and Drug-Free Youth Section," - what do all these administrators do? - I asked what the county expected to achieve with such powerfully suggestive questions. Responses were either "I don't know" or the following litany, apparently scripted since strangely repeated by several individuals:

Why is FCPS presenting this survey?

"To obtain data, collect information."

And what will the county do with this information?

"Develop programs," "adjust the curriculum."

Develop programs to do what? Adjust the curriculum in what manner?

"Depends upon the data."

Let's assume the data confirms what we already know - that some children are sexually active. What will the county's message be?

"I'm not going to argue with you."

This is not an argument. I'm asking where's the county's going with this? What's the message for the students?

"I've already told you what we're going to do."

To his credit, an ex-cop on the SDFYS Team expanded a bit on the script: Based on the survey results, the County would present information to the children so that they could make "informed choices." Not "the right choices," just "informed choices."

It matters not that the survey questions are excessively intrusive and titillating suggestive [FCPS: Sez you], the answers highly likely to be inaccurate and thus the "data" tainted [FCPS: The "experts" know how to screen out the comedians], and the whole process a foolish expenditure [FCPS: It's already in the budget] and an enormous waste of time [FCPS: The survey itself will deter behavior].

"How," I asked the School Board representative, "do I opt my children out of this Orwellian horror if they're selected?" She had no idea. Neither did the next five bureaucrats to which I was directed. Little or no consideration had been given to accommodating those parents who refused to acknowledge that a school system that had its hands full trying to teach reading, writing and arithmetic could instruct children on weighty moral issues in a nonjudgmental, God-free environment.

It was finally the ex-cop who unabashedly explained an opt-out process that will specifically identify and maximally embarrass opted-out children. …