California School District Surveys Middle Schoolers on Social Justice

Parents and Teachers React
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A California school district is under fire after a “School Climate” survey sent to middle school students asked numerous questions relating to Title IX.

The survey, which was sent to all middle school students attending a Sacramento Unified School District school, asks if they are “treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation (boys who like boys are punished or not accepted for liking boys, and girls who like girls are punished or not accepted for liking girls), if “students who don’t identify as a girl or a boy are punished or not accepted for how they identify themselves,” and if they “struggle with grades or schoolwork because of gender discrimination.”

The survey also inquires as to whether students’ “racial or ethnic identity has affected who [they] feel comfortable speaking to at school,” and whether “this school provides instructional materials (e.g., textbooks, handouts) that reflect [their] cultural background, ethnicity, or identity.”

Parents were notified about the survey ahead of time, and were given the option to fill opt-out forms so their child would not have to participate. 

“Schools have no business subjecting children—especially as young as twelve—to intrusive surveys about their sexual orientation or gender identity and it is absurd that educators would claim they’re doing it in the name of social emotional learning,” said Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, the organization who originally broke the story. 

“You know what’s actually good for the social and emotional health of children? Teaching them to read, write, and do math well so that they have the confidence and preparation they need to become the very best version of themselves,” Sanzi continued. 

This is far from the first time Sacramento has been mired in controversy. Last year, Sacramento joined a statewide pilot program that barred teachers from giving high school students a D or F grade for poor work. Instead, students were required to “take the test or complete the work again,” according to the Daily Mail.  

Furthermore, the California Globe reported last March that a Sacramento teacher publicly referred to parents who wanted to reopen schools as white supremacists during a school board meeting.

“I’m as disappointed as I am unsurprised that last week, we all had to hear all the cynical, pearl-clutching, faux-urgency, ableist, structurally White-supremacist, hysteria, even as teachers were moving forward with an MOU that already put them in harm’s way and was asking too much of a beleaguered group of professionals,” the teacher said. 

According to the Globe, the teacher is still employed.

Garion Frankel
Garion Frankel is a graduate student at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service with a concentration in education policy and management. He is a Young Voices contributor, and Chalkboard Review’s breaking news reporter.

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