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Senate Passes Restrictions on Non-Academic Surveys in Schools

File Photo, NHPR

The State Senate passed a bill today that would make non-academic surveys of students opt-in rather than opt-out. That means parents would have to be notified and give consent before a non-academic survey could be given to students in schools.

Senator Kevin Avard, a Republican from Nashua sponsored the bill. While he didn’t offer specific examples of non-academic questionnaires, he said parents should have the final say.

“When asking children questions about their sexual preferences, drugs, praying in the home, or other personal matters, there’s no question that a parent should be notified,” said Avard.

One big exception to the bill is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. That survey was developed by the Federal Center for Disease Control and has been given in schools nationally since 1993.

Opponents of the bill argue it would lower the response rate for other surveys about student behavior to rates too low to be useful.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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