Thursday, November 04, 2010

Controversial Survey: Canadian School Board to Ask Students If They Are Gay

"The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board will ask students and their parents probing questions about home life, religious affiliation and sexual orientation as part of a census to be conducted this month. The board will survey the parents of students from junior kindergarten to Grade 6, while students in Grades 7 to 12 will be asked to complete the survey on their own. The board says it's an effort to better serve its diverse student population, but some fear the questions go too far, especially for students in Grade 7," reports Matthew Pearson. "Barrie Hammond, the board's director of education, said the results will help the board make better decisions about programs, services and resource allocation. The survey comes after extensive consultation with board committees, the parent council association and aboriginal, immigrant and faith communities, he added. Both surveys touch on a wide range of issues, including academic abilities, bullying, extracurricular activities, cultural backgrounds and language, and religious affiliation. They ask respondents to identify the adult caregivers students live with most of the time, and provide a number of possible responses, including two fathers, two mothers and half the time each with mother and father. Not surprisingly, the survey for older students includes questions about plans after high school. But it also asks about gender -- and includes transgender as one possible response -- and sexual orientation. Students are asked to identify their sexual orientation from a range of possible options, one of which is prefer not to disclose. The survey is confidential, but it's not anonymous." READ MORE