JEROME -- A survey with some disturbing language was handed out to students at a public charter school in Jerome last month.
Elementary and middle school children at Heritage Academy were given a questionnaire to evaluate childhood traumas, and some parents believe the language in it was highly inappropriate.
Parents never consented to this survey being administered to their children - which is a huge concern for many. Some tell KTVB their children were disturbed by this and found the questions to be inappropriate.
In early February, students at Heritage Academy between first grade and eighth grade were handed the Adverse Childhood Experience survey, or ACE, in class. ACE was created by a physician to evaluate childhood traumas in adults and how they impact risk behaviors later in one's life. The survey includes questions about sexual abuse in explicit terms; whether parents engaged in drugs or heavy drinking; and if a household member has attempted suicide.
The school's principal and superintendent, Dr. Christine Ivie, administered the survey and said the questions were modified and age-appropriate for younger children. Students filled out the survey in class anonymously. Dr. Ivie says 75 percent of the 175 students completed it: 51 completed the regular adult version, others had the modified version and no kindergarten students were given the survey.
But some parents said their young kids were, in fact, given that explicit adult survey. About 100 parents and locals have joined a Facebook group "Call to Action - Heritage Academy" to give a voice to their children and hold the school accountable for their actions.
One of those members is Sara Bateman, who has since pulled her child out of Heritage.
"This is something you never expect from a public school," Bateman told KTVB. "So we were very disheartened, felt very betrayed, very taken advantage of and very hurt because a little part of my son's innocence is lost."
"I believe it was our job as a parent to be able to explain to our children when it came to the time of this is the meaning of this, this is the meaning of that," one mom with three students at Heritage, Renee Adams, said.
The population that Heritage Academy serves is considered diverse and high-risk. Dr. Ivie says she administered this survey to help educators understand the challenges their students are dealing with and find resources that will help them.
Ivie says experts and national education organizations all confirmed this survey is used in schools and that there is nothing illegal or inappropriate about it.
The mothers that KTVB spoke with on Wednesday say they would like to see Ivie removed from her position for causing this kind of stress to children. However, not all parents agree.
One father told KTVB he took the opportunity to speak with Dr. Ivie one-on-one and she told him his second-grader was given the modified survey. He believes that's the truth and doesn't feel that Ivie is trying to mislead anyone.
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