Some parents upset over student survey

File Photo.
File Photo.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A survey designed to help foster a bully-free school atmosphere and create an environment in which students are respectful and responsible has some parents upset over questions they believe were an invasion of privacy and home life.

Parents of the fourth and sixth graders at Leo Elementary School said they were not notified of the test before it was administered in November. Instead, they found out about its content from their children after they took it during school.

One parent said some questions asked children about their personal lives, such as how much time they spend home alone and whether or not they use their IPads during dinner time.

East Allen County Schools superintendent, Dr. Ken Folks, told NewsChannel 15 the survey’s purpose was to gather information about issues the school can address. Students answered sixty questions focused on a topic called Positive Behavior Intervention Supports, or PBIS. Dr. Folks agrees that parents should have been notified, and explained how that process usually works.
“Typically, we do what’s called passive consent, we let parents know the survey is going to happen, give them access to what the questions are going to be on the survey, and then they have the responsibility to contact the school and say, I’d rather not have my student participate in that survey.”
Dr. Folks says despite the circumstances, the survey was well-intentioned. It was meant to make the school atmosphere bully-free, and create an environment in which students are respectful and responsible.
“The best thing to do is try to be proactive and give parents the option to opt-out for their students and make sure that parents know what is on a survey that their students are going to get, so that’s how we will move forward, and our plan is just to basically listen to their concerns and we will examine things that we need to do within our district based on those concerns.”
Since parents weren’t notified, the survey was immediately pulled and no information will be used.  Dr. Folks also says some parents have already reached out to him, and he plans on meeting with each of them.
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