Would you let your child answer a survey that wanted to know how many guns you owned, what you used them for, and your political affiliation? Parents of students at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas were skeptical about a questionnaire their children received and demanded to know where it came from.
After a popular radio host and gun advocate, Michael Cargill of Come and Talk It, shared an image of the survey on social media, Hendrickson High School soon found itself embroiled in a controversy it had scarcely expected. According to TheBlaze, parents were initially concerned that the survey had come from school officials—but the staff of the high school said they were never notified of any such survey. After some investigation, it turned out that the questionnaire was given out by the school newspaper.
“Recently the Hawk newspaper staff conducted a survey of approximately 100 students, during the Talon period, regarding exposure to guns for a potential story in the school newspaper. I want to clarify that this survey was voluntary, was created by students for students and is a common practice of our journalism students to gain student perspectives for their articles,” Principal Daniel Garcia wrote on the Pflugerville Independent School District’s Facebook page.
Surveys of this kind for journalistic purposes are not unusual, but many parents worried that the data collected by the questionnaire would be given to the school district. Most notably, the survey asked students to optionally give their name and grade. Questions included whether students and their families had ever fired a gun, their thoughts on gun control, and whether they had used a gun in a self-defense situation. While the survey was not officially backed by the school, some parents still described it as “intrusive.”
“You need to instruct your ‘journalism students’ that asking a fellow students personal questions about their parents should be addressed and answered by said parents and said parents!” read one comment on the school district’s Facebook. “If the parents want to disclose such personal information then they can do it! Personal questions like this should never be included on a ‘student’ survey!!”
Other parents expressed relief that the survey was distributed by the school newspaper, rather than the district itself. According to the district’s assistant director of communications, Tamra Spence, about 127 surveys were distributed and 112 voluntarily filled out and returned. The results from the survey will not be saved by the district in any form and are strictly for the use of the school newspaper.
What do you think about this? Would you let your children fill out a survey like this? Let us know in the comments below.
Image from Facebook