Portugal’s Ministry of Education is investigating a survey that asked 9-year-old students about their sexual orientation at a school in Porto.
It is not a question that can be asked to anyone, much less a child
The questions put to 5th-year students, who are 9-years-old at the Francisco Torrinha School in Porto, included:
- Do you currently date? Yes or no?
- Have you dated before? Yes or no?
- I am attracted to: men, women or both
Psychoanalyst and child and adolescent psychiatrist Carlos Farate told Portuguese media that these types of surveys are “ethically evaluated,” and that when there are children involved, usually parents have to authorize them before they arrive at the hand of the respondents.
In a report in Diário de Notícias, the Parents Association of the Francisco Torrinha School revealed that the teacher only became aware of the contents of the survey when he delivered it to the students, because the survey was carried out “by an association outside of the school.”
The association also confirmed that prior authorization had been requested from parents for students to attend this course, but they were unaware of the existence and content of this inquiry.
Questionnaire was crazy and did not have the least credibility, scientifically or socially
Farate said that the survey is “inadequate … because at that age children do not yet have a notion of things related to sexuality.”
Despite not knowing what the school wanted with this survey and considering it was targeted at 9-year-olds, Farate said that the questionnaire was “crazy and does not have the least credibility, scientifically or socially.”
Child psychiatrist Ana Vasconcelos said in a statement that she did not know in what context the questions were asked, but that they were of “immense indignity” and “exceeded human dignity.”
“In principle it is not a question that can be asked” to anyone, “much less a child,” she added.
Vasconcelos said that this situation would not have a big impact on children and that it is now necessary to “ask the school for explanations” to “try to understand” the questionnaire.
As a parent I regret that these things are taken lightly
Yesterday, the Ministry of Education made it known that despite not knowing the situation, it has already asked the school to explain the case.
The school told Jornal i that it would not make any statements on the subject. Representatives of the school’s parents’ association told Jornal i that it “trusts the school” and that this case is an “isolated case,” and that the matter is being “properly dealt with”.
Rui Martins, president of the Independent Confederation of Parents and Guardians of Education (Cnipe), lamented what happened.
“As a parent I regret that these things are taken lightly and that are not thought of previously to avoid this type of inquiry.” He also said that Cnipe has not received similar complaints from other schools, believing that this is an isolated matter.
Jorge Ascensão, president of the National Confederation of Parents’ Associations (Confap), also revealed that he did not receive complaints from other cases, but that this situation “raised some concern” for parents.
In the face of the reactions they have received, the official says that everything indicates that this investigation was done “without parental knowledge,” stating that he did not understand how this happened.