|Back to March Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 182||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||MARCH 2001|
|Sexual Orientation Survey Sparks Outcry|
ORLEANS COUNTY, VT - A controversy erupted at the start of the 2000-2001 school year over a questionnaire called "Questions for Exploring Sexual Orientation." The survey asked high school students a variety of provocative questions including "What causes heterosexuality?" and "When did you choose your sexual orientation?"
The questionnaire provoked outrage among parents, who are concerned that a "gay agenda" is being taught in the schools. One parent, Timothy Terhune, ran a full-page ad in the Chronicle newspaper on Sept. 6, 2000 which included a reprint of the questionnaire (see below) and a small portion of the Vermont Constitution stating that schools should encourage virtue. Terhune said he has no grudge against the teachers or Lake Region High School - one of several in the area using the questionnaire as part of a health and family life curriculum - but that he "just thinks it's wrong."
Lake Region health and wellness teacher Joan Vincent told the Chronicle that the questionnaire was only a small part of the course, and was used to prompt classroom discussions about sexual orientation. She claimed that the survey "asks questions of heterosexuals that are normally asked of homosexuals, in an attempt to make heterosexuals think about how it would feel to be gay."
The course, which reportedly conforms to Vermont's "Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities," also assesses "risk behaviors" including drugs, alcohol, and unprotected sex. A section on STDs and contraception requires students to "learn the skills necessary to critically examine materials, form their own opinions, and make informed decisions."
State Representative Nancy Sheltra agreed that a homosexual agenda has crept into the schools. "We should not be using our taxpayers' money this way," she said.