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The Youth Risk Behavior Survey asks students a variety of questions for research purposes, and some parents feel some of the sexual topics cross a line.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A health survey asking Duval County School students about sex is prompting some parents to push back.
Moms for Liberty, a group of concerned parents, reached out to First Coast News citing issues with some of the topics addressed in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Are students as young as sixth grade being surveyed about their sexual history?
CDC (agency which created the survey)
Florida Department of Health
Yes, students as young as sixth grade are being surveyed on their sexual history.
WHAT WE FOUND
A copy of the 2023 survey on the CDC’s website shows four questions about sex.
The Florida Department of Health has data on its website from the 2019 survey, showing more than 5% of students answered yes to having sex before age 11.
Through those documents, we can verify “yes,” students as young as sixth grade are being questioned about their sexual activity.
The CDC has conducted this survey every two years dating back to 1990 and the State of Florida as a whole isn’t involved.
Duval County Public Schools began surveying its students in 2009.
The questions aren’t all about sex, they range from skateboarding to bullying, and it is anonymous. As much as the questions range, so do the perspectives on how beneficial it is.
“We want to sound the alarm for parents to pay attention to what letters are coming home, check your inbox and decide if you want your child to participate in answering these questions,” said Moms For Liberty Duval Chapter Chair Rebecca Nathanson.
Nathanson says the Youth Risk Behavior Survey has been on the radar for some parents after they recently noticed the district referred to statistics from it.
Although not all the questions are especially personal, some are very personal, asking middle schoolers about condom use and how many sexual partners they’ve had.
“We can understand the need for some health related questions,” said Nathanson. “We would like the district to strike the questions of a very personal nature.”
JASMYN CEO Cindy Watson says more than one hundred youth organizations came together when the data was released from the last survey, and use it to build their services and programs.
JASMYN is a Jacksonville based LGBTQ advocacy group.
Watson says the fact that teens and preteens take the survey themselves is key to its effectiveness.
“We’re hearing directly from teenagers what kinds of risks they’re taking,” said Watson. “What challenges they’re facing in their lives on a day-to-day basis and particularly at school.”
Moms for Liberty wants DCPS to send the survey to parents before it goes to kids, and require parents to consent to their children being asked the questions.
“The federal government recognizes that some of these questions are of such a personal nature, that they should only be asked of students with the parent’s full knowledge and consent,” said Nathanson. “We think that would be a good, fair solution.”
Not every child will receive this survey to fill out, the classrooms will be selected randomly.
As it stands, if your student is picked, you’ll receive a letter to choose to opt out.