The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will survey middle schoolers about their sex lives and sex-related discussions they have with their parents.
By: Sloan Rachmuth
Middle school students as young as 11 are asked:
if they have done heroin or crack cocaine
if they have had sex
if they discuss sex with parents
how fast they could get and be ready to fire a loaded gun without parental consent
how many hours they are left home alone on school days
High students are asked:
the age they first had sex
how many sexual partners they have had
if they have gay sex
Every two years, NCDPI's Healthy Schools, with the CDC, distributes a survey to select middle and high schools across the state called the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The surveys this year will be administered from September through December in school districts and charter schools chosen at random.
Through the YRBS, the CDC monitors six categories of health-related behaviors:
Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
Sexual behaviors related to pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
Alcohol and other drug use
Unhealthy dietary behaviors
Inadequate physical activity
Most questions used for the middle school survey came from the CDC's bank of questions. But several sensitive questions about children's home lives - including sexual conversations and times their parents left them alone, were apparently prepared by the NCDPI. Several sexually graphic questions recommended by the CDC were also not included in the final survey.
State policy mandates that school administrators inform parents before the survey date to allow them to opt their child out. The parental consent form for middle schoolers reads:
The survey will ask about nutrition, physical activity, injuries, and tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use. It will also ask about abstinence, AIDS, and STD education.
Absent the form was the fact that 6th-8th graders would be queried about their own sexual behavior and the behavior of their parents.
According to State Board of Education chair Eric Davis, the survey data will determine future programs and policies in North Carolina public schools.
In a memo Davis sent to schools, the chair said that student information will only be reported to the state in the aggregate and that personal information would be highly safeguarded.
North Carolina was one of only ten states where middle schoolers take part in the survey as of 2019.
To read the surveys, permission forms, and letter from Eric Davis, click below.