An Eastern Pennsylvania school district is under fire after sharing a survey asking parents about their political views.
Much like the separation of church and state, public schools are often hindered by bureaucracy. While neutrality has long been the standard, it’s clearly getting more difficult for school districts nationwide to keep the nasty bits of politics out of the classroom. While much of the country is busy fighting over school mask mandates, one school district in Eastern Pennsylvania recently found itself under heat regarding a now-viral Tweet exposing a survey shared with the district’s high school students asking them personal political questions about their families.
See the Tweet that started the controversy below:
First shared by the Twitter account Libs of Tik Tok, the account with over half a million followers shared the story on February 17th. With four screenshots, the account claimed students within the West Chester Area School District were given the school politics survey regarding their caregiver’s political views. Some of the survey’s screenshots depict questions asked within.
A few of the most egregious ones included on the school politics questionnaire asked students who their parents voted for in the 2020 presidential election. Another asked them where each parent’s political alignment was most affiliated. For that question, students were given options like left, or believing in welfare, central government, and equality, center, which was depicted as believing in a balance for social equality, or right, viewed as being traditionalist who resists political change. Another question asked the respondents to list which news outlets their parents obtained their news from.
Diving into the comments section of the post, plenty of users had strong opinions on the alleged survey surrounding school politics. Some berated the school district for allowing this type of personal and controversial survey to be sent out. Without any context, it seemed as if the school district actually even were the architects driving the controversial survey. However, one user shared a statement in the comments directing others to the official social page for the district in question.
Four days after the initial post calling out the district for the shocking survey involving the school with personal politics, the official Twitter page for the district responded. According to them, the survey being shared was not a school-crafted survey. In fact, it was a part of a student’s advance placement project intended solely for assistance in research. They also added that the survey was voluntary and anonymous.
While the statement may have seemed to alleviate the concerns of parents and community members distraught with the district for exploiting a survey with such a strong weight on school politics, the caveat comes with the manner it was delivered. Instead of leaving the project in the hands of the student, it’s being reported that the high school distributed the survey via email to every single student. According to information obtained by Broad and Liberty, a screenshot copy of an email allegedly sent by the principal at Bayard Rustin showed support for the student’s survey. Additionally, it should be noted that the email did not specify that students could opt-out.
The West Chester Area School District has yet to make any official statement regarding the alleged email screenshot. However, they have made note of plans to reexamine their procedures regarding the distribution of surveys to students while keeping them consistently in line with school board policies. Furthermore, the high school has taken the school politics survey down and deleted any recorded responses.