Lakeville parents object to school survey about family members’ habits

The Lakeville Area School District is going to reconsider its opt-out policy on student surveys after some parents this week objected to a recent survey which included personal questions about family members.

Sun Newspapers reports that questions added by the Department of Education asked whether students lived with any family member “who drinks too much alcohol, uses illegal drugs or abuses prescription drugs and if a parent or other adult in the home regularly swears at them, insults them or puts them down.”

“To put a kid in a position like that is just awful,” resident Lisa Schneegans, who said she is a recovering alcoholic, told the school board this week.

The school committee said the survey is not asking moral questions about what is right or wrong, “it simply asks factual questions around risk behaviors and family dynamics,” the school superintendent, Lisa Snyder, told the paper.

Under current policy, any survey involving morality requires students to have written parental permission to take it.

Snyder wrote that much of the survey was updated by the Minnesota Department of Education as a direct result of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study that links childhood trauma to long-term health and social consequences.

“There are questions on the survey asking about bullying, alcohol use in the home, homelessness, violence in the home and other risk factors that may contribute to student lack of success.

“The questions help the district understand the potential needs we may have in the district,” she wrote, adding that the information is “used broadly”to understand issues some students may be facing.

In previous years, the students were required to get parental permission to take the survey. In the latest survey, they were not.