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The power of the people

By Scott Tibbs, April 21, 2005

Finally, some good news from MCCSC:

And if the school board approves the recommendation made Wednesday by the Monroe County Community School Corp. administration, the planned survey of teenage sexual attitudes and behaviors will not include passive permission as originally planned.

The survey would require active, expressed parental permission for student participation. It would also be administered only to students from grades 7 through 12, and will not include current sixth-graders, as had been planned.

Many local parents and concerned citizens had been outraged that MCCSC attempted to do an end run around parents by assuming permission was granted for the survey unless parents specifically said they did not want MCCSC to administer the survey to their children. About 35 parents and concerned citizens met at Grandview School to discuss ways to combat the survey.

MCCSC's decision to review "passive consent" was a direct result of lobbying by parents and exposure in the local media. MCCSC was unable to do this in the shadows when parents publicly exposed their plans. The fact that "passive consent" may be illegal also likely played a role in the decision to review the method of implementing the survey.

However, the fact that MCCSC is reconsidering the survey does not mean that parents and concerned citizens should relax lobbying efforts directed at the MCCSC School Board. The members of the MCCSC School Board are elected officials, and (like any politician) they are keeping an eye on the next election.

----Original Message Follows----
From: Scott Tibbs <tibbs1973@yahoo.com>
To: bbrewer@mccsc.edu, swanzer@mccsc.edu, vfreelan@mccsc.edu, jmuehlin@mccsc.edu, tgrossi@mccsc.edu, lskelton@mccsc.edu, chbrown@mccsc.edu
Subject: Changes to the sex survey?
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 07:45:34 -0700 (PDT) Dear School Board members,

I was encouraged by the article in today's Herald-Times indicating that you are reconsidering using "passive consent" for a sex survey. I am also encouraged that you are considering not giving the survey to sixth graders.

If you must implement this survey, I urge you to make both changes. In my opinion, "passive permission" is dishonest and appears to be an attempt to make an end run around parents.

One panelist said "Iím very concerned over active consent, because I think it will skew the numbers." I think getting accurate numbers with this survey is far less important than respecting the rights of parents who have entrusted you with the education of their children. As I said in my previous letter to you regarding the survey, I do not think you will be getting accurate numbers anyway.

Finally, It is not too late to scrap the idea of this survey altogether. MCCSC should not be usurping the roles of parents. This survey delves into an area that should be addressed by parents, not by the government schools.

Scott Tibbs