Minnesota state survey asks kids about drug use, gender identity, and sex life

The Minnesota Department of Education wants to know if students have ever smoked crack, how many sexual partners they've had, and whether or not they identify as pansexual.

Minnesota Department of Education/Facebook

A Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) survey sent to schools around the state asks fifth through 12th graders about their sex life, gender identity, and drug use.

The intrusive questions on the 2022 Minnesota State Survey were first reported by the Center of the American Experiment. Federal law requires that the MDE make the survey questions available for parent review, and the department has posted PDFs of each survey online.

There are three survey “levels”: level one for grades 5 and 6, level two for grades 6-8, and level three for grades 9-12. It is made available to schools and juvenile correctional facilities every three years.

The MDE explains the purpose of the survey as follows:

“School district findings often satisfy the requirement for objective data for state and federal grants. As important partners in providing services to students and their families, local public health and social service agencies find that the data are important for planning and programming. State agencies use the findings to monitor trends in health and risk behaviors, to design and adjust programming to meet current and anticipated needs of youth, to apply for funding for statewide initiatives and to assist schools and communities in efficient planning and implementation of youth programs.”

Parents retain the right to exempt their children from the survey, and school administrators are also obligated to tell students they are free not to take it, but schools may nevertheless feel pressured to strongly encourage it.

“It is not clear who analyzes the data nor how asking such private and personal information helps student learning,” said the Center of the American Experiment.

Here’s a sampling of some of the questions pulled straight from the survey:

Level Two: 6th-8th Graders

“During the last 12 months, on how many occasions (if any) have you … Used crack, coke or cocaine in any form? Used heroin? Used methamphetamine? …”

“What is your gender identity? (Mark ALL that apply)”

“How do you describe your sexual orientation?”

“Has any relative/family member ever pressured, tricked, or forced you to do something sexual or done something sexual to you?”

Level Three: 9th-12th Graders

“Have you ever been treated for an alcohol or drug problem?”

“Have you ever traded sex or sexual activity to receive money, food, drugs, alcohol, a place to stay, or anything else?”

“Have YOU ever pressured, tricked, or forced someone to do something sexual, or have you done something sexual to someone against their wishes?”

“During the last 30 days, how often have other students harassed or bullied you for any of the following reasons? … Because you are bisexual, gay, lesbian, asexual, pansexual, queer, or because someone thought you were …”

“During the last 12 months, how many different partners have you had sex with?”