A Boston public school elicited outrage among parents this week when it presented pre-teen students with an explicit survey asking them about their sexual history, including whether they've performed oral sex.
The principal of Eliot K-8 Innovation School in a Thursday letter to parents acknowledged the "many concerns" over the survey, which was administered on Wednesday to some sixth- and seventh-graders.
A copy of the survey shows it inquired about the pre-teens' risk behavior, with several questions asking about their sexual history. "Have you ever participated in oral sex?" one question asked. "Oral sex is when a person puts their mouth on another person's genitals or private area," the survey explained.
Another question asked students if they are "transgender ... someone who does not feel the same inside as the sex they were born with."
The controversy over the explicit survey comes as schools across the country have faced scrutiny from parents over inappropriate content in the classroom. In 2021, thousands of parents in the Worcester, Mass., public school district pulled their children out of the district's sex education classes over content they called "dangerous."
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey administered to students at Eliot is part of a district-wide survey project by Boston Public Schools. The school's principal in the Thursday letter said Eliot would direct parents' concerns about the appropriateness of the survey to the school district.
Deirdre Hall, a mother of a sixth-grade student at Eliot who received the survey, told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview that the content of the questions was "entirely inappropriate." She said she found out about the survey when her daughter came home and told her about the "really weird survey" she took during history class.
Hall said she had concerns over who has access to the students' responses and whether the information is truly anonymous. She also took issue with her daughter being exposed to the explicit concepts before students had had "a single ounce of sex education."
"She said half her class didn't even know what any of this stuff meant," Hall said. "Now they're coming home and asking their parents and their friends, 'What's oral sex?'"
Other survey questions asked the pre-teens about the number of sexual partners they've had, whether they've considered committing suicide, and whether they've taken diet pills to lose weight.
Another mother of a student at Eliot, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Free Beacon she was "outraged" that the school district would ask young children explicit sexual questions. She said "parents had no idea these questions would be asked."
"To go on field trips the district has parents sign permission slips, but for the district to ask our children private explicit sexual questions they are able to do so without consent?" the mother said. "This makes no sense."
A staff member for Eliot directed the Free Beacon to a spokesman for Boston Public Schools, who did not return a request for comment by press time.