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Parent Action Required ==> Exercise Your Opt-Out Authority

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

 

Dear Neighbor,

I am a very strong supporter of parental rights regarding your children’s education and I am working hard to protect your parental authority to opt-out your children from school surveys and tests if you decide to do so. It is for this reason I am re-sending the portion of my legislative update I emailed out just before Christmas regarding the Minnesota Student Survey, which may have been overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.

Administration of the Minnesota Student Survey began this month to students in public schools across the state and it includes very objectionable content and intrusive questions. I encourage you to take a look at my letter below, in which I include several actual survey questions. Please consider exercising your right as a parent to opt your children out of the Minnesota Student Survey.

Sincerely,

Eric

 

Minnesota Student Surveys

The Minnesota Student Survey is administered every three years to Minnesota students in grades 5, 8, 9, and 11 and asks questions about activities, opinions, behaviors, and experiences related to substance abuse, school climate, violence and safety concerns, healthy eating, out-of-school activities, connections to school, community and family, etc. The Minnesota Student Survey is administered in schools, Alternative Learning Centers (ALCs), and Juvenile Correctional Facilities (JCFs). The last Minnesota Student Survey was administered to students in 2013 and the next will be administered January - May 2016. A majority of the surveys will be administered online via desktops, laptops, tablets (e.g. iPad, Surface, etc.), and Chromebooks but a limited number of paper copies will be available for students in grades 9 and 11. More information about the Minnesota Student Survey can be found online here.

All schools and districts that participate in the survey are required to follow federal laws regarding parental notification as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). Sample parent notification letters can be found online here.

Student participation in the survey is voluntary and PPRA requires participating schools to notify parents that the survey will be administered, provide parents the opportunity to review the survey, and allow parents the opportunity to opt their child out of participating. School districts have already received electronic copies of the surveys and because federal law requires schools to make the Minnesota Student Survey available for parents to review, parents have the opportunity to review the survey in person at the school district upon parent/guardian request.

Alternatively, school districts may send an electronic copy of the survey to anyone requesting it.

Due to intrusiveness and inappropriateness of many of the questions in my opinion, I strongly urge parents to exercise their right to opt their children out from participating in the Minnesota Student Survey for those with children attending a school or district that will be administering the Minnesota Student Survey beginning January 2016.

I've included several example questions below students statewide will be asked:

· Do you consider yourself transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, or unsure about your gender identity?

· Which of the following best describes you?

o Heterosexual (straight)

o Bisexual

o Gay or lesbian

o Not sure (questioning)

· The LAST time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?

· Did you drink alcohol or use drugs before you had sexual intercourse the LAST time?

· How many times have you been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant?

· During the last 12 months, with how many different male partners have you had sexual intercourse?

· During the last 12 months, with how many different female partners have you had sexual intercourse?

· During the last 12 months, how many times has alcohol or drug use caused you problems with the law?

· During the last 30 days, on how many days did you use prescription drugs not prescribed for you?

· How old were you when you tried marijuana (pot, weed) or hashish (hash, hash oil) for the first time? (Do NOT count medical marijuana prescribed for you by a doctor.)

· How old were you when you had your first drink of an alcoholic beverage, such as beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor, other than a few sips?

· Does a parent or other adult in your home regularly swear at you, insult you or put you down?

· Has a parent or other adult in your household ever hit, beat, kicked or physically hurt you in any way?

· Have your parents or other adults in your home ever slapped, hit, kicked, punched or beat each other up?

· Do you live with anyone who drinks too much alcohol?

· Do you live with anyone who uses illegal drugs or abuses prescription drugs?

· Can you talk to your father about problems you are having?

· Can you talk to your mother about problems you are having?

· During the last 30 days, have you had to skip meals because your family did not have enough money to buy food?

· Do you have any long-term mental health, behavioral or emotional problems? Long-term means lasting 6 months or more.

· When was the last time you saw a doctor or nurse for a check-up or physical exam when you were not sick or injured?

· When was the last time you saw a dentist or dental hygienist for a regular check-up, exam or teeth cleaning or other dental work?

· During the last 12 months, how many times did you use an indoor tanning device, such as a sunlamp, sunbed or tanning booth? (Do not include getting a spray-on tan)

· During the last 12 months, how many times did you do something to purposely hurt or injure yourself without wanting to die, such as cutting, burning, or bruising yourself on purpose?

· The LAST time you had sexual intercourse, what ONE method did you or your partner use to prevent pregnancy?

o No method was used to prevent pregnancy

o Birth control pills

o Condoms

o Depo-Provera shot (or any birth control shot), Nuva Ring (or any birth control ring), Implanon (or any implant) or any IUD

o Withdrawal (pull-out)

o Some other method

o Not sure

· During the last 12 months, how often have you…

o Hidden your gambling/betting from your parents, other family members or teachers?

o Felt that you might have a problem with gambling/betting?

o Skipped hanging out with friends who do not gamble/bet to hang out with friends who do gamble/bet?

· During the last 12 months, on how many occasions (if any) have you…

o Sniffed glue or huffed or inhaled the contents of aerosol spray cans or other gases to get high?

o Used LSD (acid), PCP (wet sticks or dipped joints) or other psychedelics (mushrooms, angel dust)?

o Used MDMA (E, X, ecstasy), GHB (G, Liquid E, Liquid X, roofies) or Ketamine (Special K)?

o Used crack, coke or cocaine in any form?

o Used heroin?

o Used methamphetamine (meth, glass, crank, crystal meth, ice)?

o Used over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrup, cold medicine or diet pills that you took only to get high?

o Used synthetic drugs such as bath salts (Ivory Wave, White Lightning) or synthetic marijuana (K2, Gold) that you took only to get high?

· During the last 12 months, on how many occasions (if any) have you used any of the following prescription drugs that were NOT prescribed for you or that you took ONLY to get high?

o Stimulants such as Benzedrine (bennies, speed, uppers, pep pills) or diet pills

o ADHD or ADD drugs like Ritalin (hyper pills)

o Pain relievers such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin (“oxy”), Percocet, Percodan, Vicodin or others

o Tranquilizers such as Valium, Xanax, nerve pills or sedatives or barbiturates (downers)

· During the last 12 months, have you…

o Found that you had to use a lot more alcohol or drugs than before to get the same effect?

o Tried to cut down on your use of alcohol or drugs but couldn't?

o Continued to use alcohol or drugs even though you knew it was hurting your relationships with friends and family?

I've included three links below for direct access to PDF copies of each of the three surveys what will be administered:

· 2016 Minnesota Student Survey for Grades 9 and 11, ALCs, and JCFs

· 2016 Minnesota Student Survey for Grade 8

· 2016 Minnesota Student Survey for Grade 5

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