The Loudoun County School Board is revising its policy on student questionaries and surveys to include sections that outline protecting students identify, parental notification for sensitive topics, as well as surveys conducted by outside sources.
According to the updated policy, student participation in school surveys is voluntary, unless it’s required by the school division, the U.S. Department of Education or the Commonwealth of Virginia. The update points out that clear instructions will be given so students know it is not required. The updated policy also notes that all survey results will be stored in a way to protect the identity of students, and no personally identifiable information is to be given out by staff giving the survey.
Another newly added section deals with survey requests from outside sources and gives direction for how those surveys or questionnaires are to be processed. It also includes greater power given to the superintendent as far as limiting surveys and not approving them. It states that the decision of the superintendent to decline a survey is not subject to appeal. It also states that no data collected from student surveys may be sold or shared for commercial gain.
Finally, regarding surveys requesting sexual information, mental health, medical or information on student health risk behaviors, information about controlled substances or any other information deemed “sensitive in nature by the superintendent,” parents must be notified in writing 30 days before the survey is administered. The policy was also updated to say no K-5 student may take part in a survey requesting sexual information unless required by federal or state law.
The latest review on the policy was conducted in 2011. The updated policy was presented to the Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting on May 26. It was presented to the Board for review on Aug. 9.
The policy was reviewed by both the Equity Committee and Special Education Advisory Committee as well as being released for community feedback. No feedback was received.
The updated policy will go before the full Board to be voted on at tonight’s meeting.