Florida Terminates 'Sexualized' Risk Behavior Survey in Duval Public Schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (FLV) – The Florida Department of Health terminated Duval County Public School’s partnership with a CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey after the state Department of Education called it “inflammatory and sexualized.”
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. sent a letter Feb. 9 to Duval County Schools Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene “strongly” urging the district to reconsider having students participate in the survey.
“This letter serves to share my grave concerns with your continued participation in this survey, as such an inflammatory and sexualized survey is not in the best interest of Florida students,” Diaz wrote in the letter to Greene.
Diaz said the survey asks questions that “may actually introduce risky behaviors to students, prompting them to engage in potentially detrimental activities.”
Some questions in the CDC survey include:
“During the past 12 months, how many times did anyone force you to do sexual things that you did not want to do?”
“Have you ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when you did not want to?”
“How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?”
In the survey, students are also asked about how many individuals they have had sexual intercourse with including whether they have had oral sex and whether they have sexual intercourse with males or females. The survey asks the students whether they are transgender, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or questioning.
In the letter, Diaz pointed to the Florida-specific youth survey that the state is developing, “aligned to state standards to safely collect information and better serve students.”
The survey is set to be administered in the spring and Diaz said if DCPS were to continue participating in the CDC survey, it would be “duplicative and unnecessary.”
The commissioner pointed to March 16, 2022 when the Department of Education and the Department of Health sent a letter to the CDC “indicating” that both the departments were no longer participating in the survey.
“I strongly urge you to reconsider having your students participate in the CDC survey. Instead of asking students highly controversial and extremely personal questions from the CDC survey, you should re-focus your efforts on teaching and learning as the end of the school year quickly approaches,” Diaz wrote in the letter.
On Friday, Feb. 10, the Department of Health sent a letter to Greene informing her that they will be terminating the contract with the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Study
“Since 2009, the YRBS has been used to provide the district and health partners with extensive data about the experiences of our students and the services they need,” Greene said. “We know we are serving multiple students as young as middle school who are already moms and dads. Even though this survey is going away, we will do our best to remain attentive to the experiences and behaviors of our students and continue to work with other community partners to address their needs.”
The Moms for Liberty chapter in Duval County also asked the DCPS Board to remove personal questions about sex from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Moms for Liberty pointed to the CDC survey that has questions about sexual behavior, sexual orientation, sexual history, masculinity, femininity and gender identity, according to the press release.
“These questions are unacceptable. They not only violate parental rights and the students’ rights to privacy, they could trigger post-traumatic stress in a student who is suicidal or has been sexually assaulted. Imagine if you were an adolescent taking this survey,” Chapter Chair of Moms for Liberty, Duval County Becky Nathanson said.
“Those asking for this information have no concern for the individuals providing the answers. Guidance counseling is not alerted to support them. It’s shocking and unacceptable that our schools put our children in such a position while they are at school.”