A New York middle school is facing criticism after it supposedly neglected to inform parents it would survey students about their sexual orientation and if they identify as “transgender” or “non-binary.”
A copy of the survey given to seventh graders at Berner Middle School in Long Island was sent to and exposed by Parents Defending Education, according to a report.
Massapequa School District Assistant Superintendent Thomas Fasano had informed parents about a survey created by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the report noted.
“As we have over the past several years, the Massapequa Public School District has agreed to participate this Spring in the 2021 – 2022 NYS Youth Development Survey, funded by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) for our students in grades 7-12,” Fasano’s letter read.
“This statewide survey is designed to improve our community’s understanding of our students’ strengths and the risks they may face for developing health problems like smoking, underage drinking and other substance abuse.”
There was no indication that the students would be surveyed about sexuality or gender identity in the letter, according to the report.
However, parents had been “made aware that a copy of the survey was available to them,” Massapequa School District Superintendent William Brennan said.
They had the ability to “review all of the content included,” according to Brennan.
“As in years past, the district shared the New York State Youth Development Survey with parents explaining that it was voluntary, anonymous and students were not required to answer all of the questions,” Brennan said.
“Additionally, parents were provided with a direct contact in central administration to discuss the survey in depth, if desired. Specific information on the methodology of questions can be answered by the state.”