School survey that asked kids if they were non-binary or pansexual sparks backlash

(Photo: Unsplash/Cecilie Johnsen)

A school survey has sparked outrage among parents after asking 11-year-old children about their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The survey is reported to have asked 6th graders at a North Carolina school to choose their gender identity from a number of options, including "male", "female", "non-binary" and "gender fluid". 

When asked about their sexual orientation, the survey offered "pansexual", "asexual" and "questioning my sexual orientation" as possible answers. 

In light of the backlash, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston said on Facebook that the questions had been removed as a result of the feedback. 

"This year three questions were added [to the survey], asking students about their gender identity or sexual orientation. The intent of their addition was to inform central office resource deployment to continue efforts to make our schools safer and more welcoming for all students," he said. 

"Feedback we've received on the addition of those questions has been positive and productive. Though many share our desire to make schools safer and more welcoming, several people have shared concerns about the wording of the new questions and the need for explicit communication to staff and families about the inclusion of such sensitive questions.

"Given the feedback we have received, we have removed the aforementioned questions from this year's student survey. Responses already recorded will be erased and will not be included in any reporting." 

The post was flooded with angry comments from parents, with several saying they had told their children not to participate in the survey. 

"I have no trust in my child's schooling anymore," said one person.

"I am advising my children that ANYTHING other than a scheduled test from their teacher that they may decline. And somehow I have to trust a 8 and 10 year old understand this [sic]. Unbelievable." 

Another wrote: "I would like to know who all these parents are who are appreciative about this survey . Our children clearly had their rights violated!"

In further comments to the WSOC Channel 9 news network, Winston said that the nature of the survey was being looked into. 

"I am very concerned with the timing and the way in which I was informed about the actual survey," he said. 

"It did not occur to the expectation that I have. I have expressed that to staff, and it is an active human resources matter."

Franklin Graham, CEO of the North Carolina-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said on Facebook that the person responsible for the survey "should be fired, dismissed, terminated - period". 

"They obviously don't have discernment about what is the right thing to do for children," he said.