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Saturday, March 25, 2023

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Sex Survey Prompts Reflection in Sachem


Some Sachem parents were outraged following a survey given to 10th graders in health class through the school district’s Chromebooks.

The quiz asked participants about sexual activities, preferences, number of sexual partners, gender identities and sexual orientations. The quiz also included questions about participants’ weight and whether they were trying to change it.

In a statement to the media, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher J. Pelletierri said, “Based on a national study to assess at-risk behaviors on various health-related topics, the district issued a survey to 10th-grade students at High School East and High School North. The survey is anonymous and optional and informs the district of areas in which they can assist their students with available resources for support as needed.”

The statement continues to say, “It has come to our attention that the survey included a few questions that raised concerns amongst some community members. As a result, the district pulled the survey, which is currently under review.”

The district was not available for comment on whether the survey was created internally and whether there was a timeline for what will happen with the survey by the publication deadline, due to winter break.

There were others in the district that agreed with the sentiments behind the survey.

“…with today’s technology and the use of social media and music, I feel most of the kids have heard these words and know what they mean,” said Sarah Haviland, a parent of one of the 10th graders. “When my daughter told me about the questionnaire, I asked her if they had to put their names on it and she told me ‘no.’”

“The health teacher did tell parents at the ‘Meet the Teacher Night’ about the questionnaire and what the purpose for it was,” Haviland added, while noting that she believed it was used consistently with how it was described to parents.

Still, community concern extended beyond parents in the district.

“Concerned parents of Sachem School District students contacted my office with complaints regarding the recent controversial ‘Teen Health Risk Behavior Survey’ that was presented to 10th-grade students throughout the district. (According to school district officials, that is approximately 1,000 students),” stated Senator Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue). “Upon being contacted by the parents, I personally reached out to school district officials and got a copy of the survey. I must say, I was shocked. It’s an outrage that a survey of such explicit and intimate questions was not just allowed to be distributed to students, but without parental consent or the ability to opt out of the survey, forced upon them in class.”

“How could such a survey be distributed in class without the knowledge of school district administrators or school board members?” Murray continued. “What actions will be taken to ensure this does not happen in the future? The parents and the public deserve answers to these questions.”

Murray is now calling for an investigation.

Questions Included:

 Have you ever participated in vaginal or anal sexual intercourse? Have you ever participated in oral sex? During your life, how many people have you been sexually active with (Vaginal, Anal, or Oral sex)?

Brian R. Monahan
Brian R. Monahan
News Editor for The Messenger Papers.