Cabarrus Co. school board looks at revised survey addressing sexual attitudes and behaviors

CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Cabarrus County School Board will take a look at a revised survey at its Monday night meeting. The survey will ask questions about sexual attitudes and behavior. The survey will be for 8th graders.

The original survey was pulled after parents complained about its content. Some parents thought the questions were too graphic for the students' young minds.

The survey is called TRAIL/OAH. It is developed by the Office of Adolescent Health. The goal of the survey is to promote teenagers making good decisions while young and to check on their well-being.

One question on the revised survey asks students, "In the past three months, have you practiced sexual abstinence?"

"I am not real happy about a survey. To me it feels like they are promoting sexual behavior," Parent Maureen Berkowitz said.

Berkowitz has an 8th grader. She believes a question like that is an inappropriate question for a 14-year-old.

"I have spoken to him in depth about sex and what can happen. And I am hoping a question like that doesn't kind of push him to wanting to have sex," the mother said.

The survey also asks questions about bullying and if students feel safe at school and at home.

"I'm ok with those questions, because I do have a child that has been bullied at school," Berkowitz said.

Some students say they think the survey will jump-start a meaningful conversation that will make a difference in the lives of 8th graders. They think it could prompt teenagers to make good decisions.

"I feel like if they were more talkative with their parents, they kept like a safeguard on them - then that'll help them - so asking questions in school like that I think that will help personally." Student Alex Rissew said.

School board members don't want the parents to lose the message behind the survey. School leaders think the survey can help students lead a productive life while at school. They are hoping the revised survey will be accepted by parents.

"We are trying to teach our children to make really good decisions and not get themselves into really compromising situations in their lives," Cabarrus County School Board Chairman Barry Shoemaker said.

The survey is the work of Office of Adolescent Health. The survey is optional. Parents can decide whether or not to have their kids participate in it.

If the school board decides to pass on the survey, the county could lose out on millions of dollars in grant money to better assist students.

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