Parents with students enrolled at an Alabama middle school were furious to learn that a teacher handed out a survey this week asking students about their gender identity and their parents' political leanings.
The incident was reported to Huntsville City Schools, but WAAY-TV stated that some parents think the district did not do enough to address concerns about the incident.
Children attending a civics course at Challenger Middle School were asked to complete a 48-question survey that allegedly asked children if they identified as cisgender, transgender, or nonbinary. According to parents, it also asked if they would be willing to participate in "extreme body modification."
Parents stated that they were not notified about the questionnaire or the nature of the questions.
"The very last question was, 'Are your parents liberal or progressive in their political thought?' and the only answer was 'yes,' 'no' or 'neutral,' which I feel is very inappropriate to ask a child, and it only asked for liberals, and it is definitely targeting conservative parents," a parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told WAAY-TV.
"I asked my daughter, 'Where did you get this question from?' and she said, 'I had a survey today in my civics class, and that was one of the last questions that was given to me on the career survey,'" said the parent.
The anonymous parent expressed concern for her child and stated, "It makes me very nervous, because I feel like she might be singled out and she might be bullied, especially if she says something, because the teacher might be just trying to push some agenda."
Parents said they created a social media post to connect with other parents and make them aware of the incident. After connecting online, some parents reported that their children did not tell them about the questionnaire. Another parent stated that their child told them they completed it because they were afraid they would fail the course otherwise.
Since learning about the survey, the school's principal emailed an apology to parents. He said that the questions did not meet the school's standards and were not approved by the school or the district.
The principal wrote, "At the end of the survey, some students received optional demographic questions that were not appropriate for school use."
The teacher reportedly told parents that the survey was for a career lesson and had been provided by a third-party vendor. However, it has since been removed from the school's online portal.
A school district spokesperson said they could not provide a comment since it is a personnel matter, reported WAAY-TV. Therefore, at this time, it is not clear if the teacher will face any disciplinary action.
City school board member Andrea Alvarez told 1819 News, "It was a mistake made by a new teacher and handled within 1 hour of the Superintendent being notified." She continued, "Unfortunately, the parent decided that social media needed to find out before the school."
"The most important thing to do when something like this happens is prevent further damage to our children. When you don't immediately alert the school you increase the risk of more children possibly being introduced to something they shouldn't be. Thank you to the concerned parent who alerted me to the social media posting so we could take proper action to protect our students," said Alvarez.