In 2017 parents finally enjoyed a victory for parental rights. Governor Sununu signed an important law that supported informed consent by a parent/guardian before their children could participate in a non-academic survey. What’s so bad about non-academic surveys in our schools? A LOT.
Google inappropriate surveys in schools and you will find examples of surveys asking children about oral sex, religious values, drug usage, gun ownership, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. The questions are sometimes phrased in a way that assumes the child is participating in risky behavior.
Parents in Bedford got angry about a non-academic survey their children were given a few years ago. The Bedford Principal had sent home a letter to parents that never mentioned the graphic nature of the questions on the survey and mislead them about the anonymity of students who participate in these surveys.
The Bedford survey included a question like, “How many times have you had sexual intercourse, gone all the way, or made love as a teenager.” In one news report, young girls were asked about oral sex reported how uncomfortable they became while answering those questions.
Parents across New Hampshire worked hard to pass a law that requires informed consent from parents before their children take a non-academic survey in school. The only people who objected were organizations that receive grant funding along with the New Hampshire School Boards Association and School Administrators Association. They didn’t want parents informed because it had the potential of bringing down the participation rate. If that rate falls below 95%, the results wouldn’t be considered valid. That means, they would have to make sure the survey was acceptable to parents, or work hard to obtain their approval.
Ethical guidelines that govern research and assessments like these on children require informed consent from human subjects. Parental consent should have been the norm, but it wasn’t. School administrators have been ignoring those ethical guidelines for a very long time. The law signed by Governor Sununu put a stop to this abuse of power.
Selling Parents Down the Special Interest River
There is now a push to repeal informed consent when children take non-academic surveys. A few Democrat Senators have proposed a Bill (SB196) that will eliminate informed parental consent. This also puts every child’s sensitive data at risk since private companies gather data from surveys too.
Bedford’s former State Senator Andy Sanborn was incredibly supportive of parental rights. He voted for the law that required parental consent when schools administer a non-academic survey. Bedford’s new State Senator, Jeanne Dietsch supports SB196, and that’s not good for parents or children.
After replying to a few parents in Bedford, Senator Dietsch first said she was bothered by the surveys. She even indicated that she would oppose SB196. But in Committee hearings organizations that could lose federal funding changed her mind. She threw her support behind SB196. The bill now goes before the entire Senate for a vote.
In other words, she’s selling parental rights and data privacy on our children to the highest bidder.
There is a real problem when the people we elect do not represent their constituents, but instead, represent special interests.
Bedford has been well served in the past by a former Senator who represented the people of Bedford, New Boston, Hancock, Sharon, Jaffrey, Dublin, Troy, Mont Vernon, Greenfield, Lyndeborough, Peterborough, Temple, Fitzwilliam, Richmond. Now it appears as if their new Senator changed the practice of supporting parental rights.
That’s unfortunate for the children throughout New Hampshire.
Vote from Senate Committee to support the removal of informed parental consent on non-academic surveys:
Senator Watters SUPPORT
Senator Kahn SUPPORT
Senator Dietsch SUPPORT
Senator Starr SUPPORT
Senator Ward OPPOSE
Follow SB196 to see how your Senator and Representatives vote on this important Bill. Contact them to make sure they are not selling your rights as a parent, and your child’s privacy to the highest bidder.
Finally, contact Governor Sununu and urge him to VETO SB196!