Duanesburg parents upset after state survey accidentally given to students

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DUANESBURG, N.Y. -- Parents in Duanesburg are upset over a state survey accidentally given to seventh and eighth graders.

The anonymous survey was from the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and asked kids a range of questions regarding drugs, alcohol, and gambling.

Parents say they received no notice that the test was coming, and received no option to opt out. The test itself was administered at the end of May and a note didn't go home informing parents until June 6.

Some Duanesburg parents plan to attend tonight’s school board meeting to demand answers as to why their kids were asked such personal questions without parent permission.

"Have you ever committed a crime with a vehicle? I mean we're talking about seventh and eighth graders. We're not speaking about seniors in high school,” said Randy Possonno.

Possonno says he is furious the school asked his 12-year old daughter what he calls invasive questions, without first consulting him and offering a chance to opt out. And he says he is fighting back to let the school know just how he feels.

"What we are trying to do as concerned parents, residents in a school district, is to protect the rights of our children,” he said.

The district explained the test was just a draft that was supposed to be administered in October 2014, with the option for parents to exclude kids.

Unfortunately, according to the district the middle school principal, they failed to notice the draft and improperly gave approval for English classes to administer it to seventh and eighth graders.

But parents say the apology note sent home on Friday doesn't go far enough, and they want promises it won't happen again.

"I can apologize for it, they were shredded, no one saw them, they were anonymous. Clearly they couldn't go back to NY State because this was just a draft,” said Superintendent Chris Crowley.

Crowley says the surveys were shredded when they noticed the mistake, and a letter was sent home with students apologizing – but that not much else can be done.

But Possonno says he wants more than an apology, he wants assurances, and come October he says he will definitely opt out.

The superintendent says that when the surveys are done correctly, they remain anonymous and help the school find areas to help get the student body the support they may need.



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