An optional biennial Virginia School Youth Survey asked high school students questions about their sexual activity, and some parents claim they were not informed about the survey.
District policy requires parents be given 30 days advance notice of such a survey being administered. Loudoun Valley High School Assistant Principle Bill Gulgert sent an email to parents stating that some students were incorrectly administered the survey without their parents receiving an opt-out form. Gulgert said in his email that the data from students whose parent were not given the chance to decline the survey will not be used.
A district spokesperson said the survey is not new; a similar one was administered in 2019.
The 100-question survey is given to middle and high school students on behalf of the Virginia Department of Education and includes questions about students’ health, home life, and includes nine questions about sexual activity.
“The data is used to monitor trends in health risk and health-promoting behaviors,” spokesman Wayde Byard said in an email. “This data allows community organizations, local health districts and school divisions to provide youth the support and services that target the most prevalent health risk behaviors.
Questions include, “How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?,” and “During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse?”
Byard said that this is the second time that the division has used the survey to collect data specific to Loudoun County students.
“The Virginia Youth Survey (VYS) has been developed to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Both the LCPS Department of Instruction and the Department of Student Services has programs that focus on physical health, nutrition, wellness, mental health, substance use and violence prevention and intervention education,” Byard said.