Fox News: Legal battle brews over schools gathering sensitive information

Covering Southeastern Legal Foundation’s latest legal action in the fight to save America’s public schools, the groups “called for an investigation Sunday into whether a school district is violating the privacy rights of students and their families by having students fill out surveys that include questions about their sexual orientation and the political beliefs of their parents,” writes Andrew Kugle with Fox News Digital.

Kugle continues:

The conservative legal organization sent a letter on the behalf of a group of concerned parents to Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, R., requesting his office launch an investigation into the Webster Groves School District (WGSD). The request specifically calls for Missouri’s attorney general to investigate the State Board of Education, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Webster Groves School District and related third parties if the data collected from the surveys violated state and federal law.

“Parents in WGSD have a well-founded concern that the student surveys administered in their schools violate both state and federal law and respectfully ask that you investigate further,” SLF’s letter stated. The parents allege the surveys were mandatory without their consent. It also cited experts who describe the surveys as what people would see in a doctor’s office or mental health facility. The surveys documented included questions about students’ gender identity, mental health, racial identity and political beliefs.

The surveys included question after question asking students about sensitive personal information, much of which is prohibited by law without parental consent. Kugle explains in his article,

Political beliefs is one topic that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education forbids school districts from collecting and reporting. According to SLF’s letter, high school students taking a government class have to take two surveys which identify the student’s political affiliation and take a screenshot to send to their teacher. The two surveys on political beliefs are the E-Congress Political Ideology Survey and the “I Side With…” political quiz which ask questions about an array of issues to determine the respondents’ political ideology and political party.

SLF’s Kimberly Hermann told Kugle: “Based on the Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s actions over the last six months fighting for parental rights, these are excellent indications that his office will launch a full and detailed investigation into WGSD, the State Board, DESE, and third-party vendors like Panorama and Project Wayfinder.”

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