The McCreary Centre Society offers a video that explains its BC Adolescent Health Survey.

Survey questions about suicide and sex inappropriate for 12-year-olds, says parent

Abbotsford mom starts online petition over McCreary Centre Society’s Adolescent Health Survey

An Abbotsford mom has started an online petition against a controversial survey that asks students questions about topics such as suicidal thoughts and sexual activity.

The BC Adolescent Health Survey conducted by the McCreary Centre Society was distributed May 25 to Abbotsford students in Grades 7 to 12.

The survey is held province-wide every five years and addresses such as substance use; injury prevention behaviour; suicide and self-harm; sexual orientation and gender identity; sexual behaviour; thoughts about skills and the future; and extra-curricular activities.

The survey was a controversial issue in Abbotsford in 2007, when school trustees voted against participating in the 2008 survey, saying some questions might offend students and their parents and not be age-appropriate.

But the board of education voted to participate in the 2013 survey, saying it had changed since the previous one.

Mom Lisa Brandsma recently began an online petition, after she became aware that her 12-year-old son had completed the survey without her knowledge or consent.

She said that’s because the survey offers two forms of consent – passive (no parental/guardian signature required) and active (signature required) – and the school district opted for the former one.

Brandsma said a letter was sent home to parents to advise them of the survey, but no signature was required for a child to participate.

She said her son did not receive the letter. After she found out he had taken the survey, which is not available online, she tracked down a copy and found some of the questions “quite inappropriate” for 12-year-olds.

Among the questions she said she observed were: “How many times have you cut yourself?”, “How many times have you seriously considered killing yourself?” and “What kind of precautionary measures to prevent pregnancy did you take when you had sex: withdrawal (pulling-out method), none (same-sex partner)?”

Brandsma said these types of questions are not age-appropriate, and parents should have been given the option for their kids to be excluded.

“I’m very dissatisfied and frustrated that my son was given this survey without my consent,” she said.

Brandsma also says the survey should be available online for parents to read.

Her online petition – which she hopes to take Canada-wide – states that, in future, a parent/guardian signature should be required for students to participate in such surveys. Almost 450 people had signed the petition as of Friday morning.

But some parents responding to a Facebook post on the issue disagree with Brandsma, saying that parents might “freak out” about the content of the survey and refuse to let their kids participate. This could result in the loss of valuable information, one individual said.

Another person said kids probably would not be honest with their responses if they knew their parents were involved.

Kayla Stuckart, communications manager with the Abbotsford school district, said notification of this year’s survey and consent forms were sent home to families, allowing parents to opt out if they chose.

“The district will continue to review the distribution and administration procedures with Fraser Health to ensure that parents receive the information in a timely way to determine if the would like their child to participate in the survey or not,” she said.

Stuckart said the district chose to participate in the survey because “it is valuable for the development of provincial and local health and prevention initiatives for children and youth, helping many organizations recognize areas of strength and places that need additional attention.”

“The physical and emotional healht topics covered in the survey are complex, but we know that they are real issues in our society and warrant our attention,” she added.

The McCreary Centre Society says it uses results from the survey to highlight vulnerable student populations, monitor trends over time in school safety and “school connectedness,” identify emerging issues, and have students design and deliver innovative projects to address issues.

 

An online petition has begun over the controversial BC Adolescent Health Survey by the McCreary Centre Society.

Just Posted

Bevy of remarkable birthdays celebrated in Aldergrove

Maudie MacPherson (age 101), Vera Banner (91) and Alice Utas (95)

Pond hockey banned in public parks under updated Township bylaw

Public spaces bylaw imposes new restrictions on smoking, possession of drug paraphernalia, geocaching and more

Election 2018: Kim Richter withdraws from mayor’s race, runs for council instead

In a Facebook post, Richter announced she will seek another term on Township council

Langley trampoline gymnast off to Peru for world qualifiers

The gymnastics club is holding an open house this Saturday, Aug. 18, with free drop-in sessions.

VIDEO: Langley RCMP officer and brother lead Amazing Race Canada Heroes Edition

Courtney and Taylor Callens have become the team to beat

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Meida

5 to start your day

Mt. Hicks fire near Agassiz 15% contained, man dead in Surrey motorcycle incident and more

Two 23-year-old men die in separate Surrey motorcycle crashes in three days

One man died Thursday night after his motorcycle crashed on Highway 10, and another man died following a Tuesday crash

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

B.C. judge who cried during a victim statement to rule on recusing herself

The judge will decide if she’ll disqualify herself from sentencing a man for sexual assault

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

Most Read