Education

Parents Angry To Learn Kids Were Quizzed On Abortion, Trans People In The Army

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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Virginia parents protested a quiz their eighth graders took that asked them a series of questions on their views on abortion, gay marriage, marital rape and trans people in the military.

Students at Lynnhaven Middle School took the political quiz as part of a class participation exercise Sept. 6. the second day of school, during their Civics and Economics class, a mother told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The decision upset parents like Rachelle Ashenhart and Michelle McSweeney, who felt the questions covered topics that were over the heads of their children.

“This quiz contained some pretty inappropriate social questions such as ‘should our government continue to fund Planned Parenthood?’ ‘Should transgender couples be allowed to adopt?'” McSweeney told TheDCNF. “They were social questions that I thought were over the heads of thirteen and fourteen-year-olds.”

Her daughter came home and told her about the quiz because there were parts of it that made her feel uncomfortable, McSweeney told TheDCNF.  McSweeney said the quiz came from ISideWith, an online site that shows participants which political candidates they agree with after answering a list of questions.

A series of photos provided to TheDCNF shows that students had to answer questions like “Do you support the legalization of same-sex marriage?” “Should transgender people be able to serve in the military?” and “Should gender identity be added to anti-discrimination laws?”

Two out of three teachers gave the quiz to their Civics and Economics classes. While the quiz wasn’t graded, it served as a class participation exercise, McSweeney told TheDCNF.

“I had a hard time gleaning from anyone what they intended to do with the results other than getting the answer of they used the quiz to determine who in the class were Republicans and who were Democrats and where their political leanings were,” she said. “As a parent, it kind of feels like they spied on the parents because thirteen and fourteen-year-olds are pretty much parroting what they hear at home.”

Ashenhart, a mother to a 13-year-old girl, also expressed her displeasure over Facebook.

McSweeney said she talked to various members in the school, like the 8th grade guidance counselor, the principal and a few school board leaders who all agreed with her that the questions were inappropriate and that they would be looking into it. One of the teachers who handed out the quiz reached out to her to to apologize, she told TheDCNF.

The school told TheDCNF that the activity should not have happened because it was not approved by the principal.

“This activity is not part of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools curriculum, and it should not have been used without the principal’s review and approval. That being said, teachers used this activity in an attempt for students to see how their personal beliefs on social issues aligned with political parties,” said Lauren Nolasco, the communications director for Virginia Public schools, adding that Principal Kellie Mason had reached out to parents to assure them that the activity would not be done again.

All in all, McSweeney said she appreciated the way the school handled the situation and how they responded to her concerns.

“I do feel that this is being handled as appropriately as I could expect it to be. For me, I just wonder who in their right mind would look at this quiz and think it was a good idea to give it to thirteen and fourteen-year-olds,” she said.

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