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Parents Object To Survey About Students’ Romantic Attitudes

February 3, 1989

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) _ A school survey of junior high students’ romantic attitudes was withdrawn after parents complained that it amounted to little more than a computer dating service, school officials said Friday.

The survey, passed out to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Harrison Middle School in nearby Sunnyside, asked students’ thoughts on kissing, parties, ″buns″ and other subjects.

″I think it’s an overreaction,″ said Principal Dennis Birr of the parental response. ″It was never intended to be a sexual, offensive type of survey.″

But upon review, Birr said he decided there were a few questions not ″appropriate for this age level″ and decided Thursday to collect the forms and dispose of them.

The 30-question survey was put together as a fund-raiser by members of the school’s science club, and passed out in class to the 11- to 13-year-old students.

″I guess I was really concerned about the judgment of the adults at that school,″ said Sherry Mashburn of Sunnyside, one of the objecting parents whose son is a sixth-grader.

Members of the science club were supposed to collect the completed forms and punch the data into a computer, Birr said.

For $1, a student could receive a list of eight to 10 names of classmates of the opposite sex who shared similar interests, Birr said.

″I don’t know what they were supposed to do with those names,″ Ms. Mashburn said. ″I’d prefer my son not to do a lot.

″But he is 12 and he is interested,″ she added.

The survey was called a ″Heart to Heart Personal Questionnaire.″

For the question ″When I think of kissing I get?″ possible multiple- choice answers were: really excited, interested, bored, sick or fanatic.

For the question ″Which of the following fascinates you the most?″ possible answers included: electronic games, nice-looking cars, nice-looking bodies, the moon and the stars.

Asked what sort of parties they liked, possible answers were: loud and wild, quiet and dignified, all, none, birthday and illegal.

Another question asked which physical feature - eyes, smile, legs or ″buns″ - the participant noticed first in the opposite sex.

″Eleven-year-olds don’t need to worry about what their buns look like,″ parent Sara Robert told the Yakima Herald-Republic.

But Birr said most of the questions involved attitudes toward friendship, sports and other personality characteristics.

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