A mum is taking action after her young daughter was forced to complete a survey which asked whether she had ever had oral sex.
Another questionnaire used with her children asked how many people they had had sex with and if they had ever tried to commit suicide.
The mother, Arlene Tessitore, did not give consent for the surveys, which took place at a school in America.
Now, with the backing of a civil liberties organisation, a complaint has been made to the US Department of Education.
Arlene Tessitore has two girls at the Memorial Middle School (MMS) in Massachusetts. She said the older girl, aged around 13, was asked to answer ‘true’ or ‘false’ to statements which included: “I have had oral sex at some point in my life.”
And both her daughters were given the survey that included questions on sexual partners and suicide.
‘Passive consent’ was used for the surveys, which means parents are presumed to have consented if they do not return a form sent home with their child.
However, civil liberties group The Rutherford Institute, which is supporting Arlene Tessitore, says relying on passive consent in such cases violates a national law.
The official complaint on the matter says: “Both girls were deeply disturbed by the content of the survey and the fact that they were effectively coerced to participate in it.”
Commenting on the survey about sexual partners, MMS Principal Fran Thomas said the school did not generate the survey.
She claimed the school was required to administer it to get a grant.
In the UK earlier this year, a research report for an equality quango said children as young as eleven should be asked about their sexual orientation and parents need not know.
The contentious proposal was branded by one critic as “sinister”.
But the report, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, claimed children should undergo the questioning to curb discrimination.
While the report admitted that getting parental consent is “considered good practice”, it also said “there is no clear legal requirement in relation to social research”.