Questions About Drugs & Alcohol Lead To Concerns Over Student Privacy

Student Survey Irks Some EACS Parents (VIDEO)

By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive

December 10, 2013 Updated Dec 11, 2013 at 11:13 AM EDT

LEO-CEDARVILLE, Ind. (21Alive) - A survey given to East Allen County Schools students has some parents concerned about their children's privacy.

Students at Leo Elementary School were recently given a 13-page Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports survey that ranged in questions about the child's grade, gender and ethnic background to the school, classrooms, technology and classmates' behavior.

But it is questions asked about school safety, smoking, alcohol and drugs that led some parents to voice their concerns at the EACS board meeting Tuesday night.

"We were appalled that they were collecting data on our fourth- and sixth-graders," Leo Elementary School parent Marita Short says. "Bullying them into answering questions that were inappropriate."

In a copy of the survey provided by Short, questions included the following for students to answer:

  • "Have you ever been robbed at this school?"
  • "Have you ever smoke [sic] a cigarette, even one or two puffs?"
  • "Have you drunk [sic] beer or alcohol?"
  • "If you have drank beer or alcohol before, how many times have you drank in the past 30 days?"
  • "Have you ever taken an illegal drug?"
  • (See the entire survey here)

    The survey said in its instructions that answers would be kept private; and there was no request in the survey for students to include their names.

    EACS superintendent Dr. Ken Folks says he was aware of some parents' concerns on the survey prior to the board meeting, and says the district has addressed those concerns.

    "I appreciate parents and concerned people coming to our board meeting, so we know what the issues are," Folks says. "I will continue to meet with any parents who have concerns on these issues."

    Marita Short and her husband, Preston, say they will push for the district to adopt a stronger privacy policy for student information.

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