There are some things that are perfectly acceptable for a teacher to ask a child to reflect on – sex and drugs are not two of those things.
But that didn’t stop one Adult Roles and Financial Literacy teacher from handing her students a questionnaire that asked about just that.
The questionnaire, dubbed “Know Thyself,” was originally penned in 1967 and had been updated throughout the years before landing on the desk of Heather Danks-Miller’s 11th grade daughter, Olivia.
The questionnaire aims to have kids self-reflect on risky behaviors and does this by asking a series of 30 questions that start with “ever gone out with a member of the opposite sex” and progress to “ever taken off most of your clothes while parking” to “have you ever tried Angel Dust” and ending with questions about abortion and homosexual experiences.
You get a number amount for each question that you answer “yes” to and at the end you add up those numbers to get your score, which ranges from “A nerd – just where you should be at your age” to “indecent.”
Students are then supposed to hand in this questionnaire, with their name on it, to the teacher. If they don’t want the teacher to read the questionnaire all they have to do is ask them not to at the top of the worksheet.
Danks-Miller immediately had an issue with the homework assignment and took to Facebook outraged that her daughter came home feeling bad about herself because she hadn’t gotten a good score.
After, momma bear emailed them multiple times and finally met with the school’s principal who agreed to stop using the “archaic” questionnaire. She also got her daughter an apology from her teacher.
And honestly, that really isn’t enough. If Olivia felt extreme embarrassment about her past that she hadn’t felt before the questionnaire, then the questionnaire likely had the same effects for others in the class. And shaming kids like that is simply disgusting.
There’s going to be things that everyone does throughout their lives that they’re going to be ashamed about and they’re always going to realize (at some point) that they’ve made a poor choice or done something stupid.
Making mistakes and learning from them is part of being human, after all.
And what doesn’t help is shaming people, especially kids, for their choices, giving them a number rating on it and expecting them to hand that “shame” to someone that they respect like it’s a multiplication quiz.
It is not up to the school to shame kids into becoming what they perceive to be a perfectly molded person. That’s up to the parents.
Parents need to realize that their kids may experiment with sex and drugs and it’s up to the parent to talk with their child about sex and drugs so that their child can make a responsible decision.
And it also falls to the parents to be there for their child to work through bad decisions after the fact because allowing the school to hog those moments of self-reflection really does your child a potentially embarrassing disservice.
Would you let your child take this quiz and do you think it’s the school’s responsibility to shame your kid into good personal choices? Let us know in the comments.