Aspen High indoctrinating students with survey

I read with great sadness the guest column by Sarah Strassburger, the principal of Aspen High School, in the April 5 issue of the Aspen Times (“State board of education representative off mark on Aspen High survey”).

The subject of Joyce Rankin’s column to which the principal objected was an invasive survey distributed by the principal and teachers to students without prior parental notice or approval as required by law. In her guest column, the principal seriously mischaracterizes as politically motivated Ms. Rankin’s column. The principal also dismissed the concerns of a group of Aspen parents who learned of the survey after the fact and objected.

As our elected representative on the State Board of Education from the 3rd Congressional District, Ms. Rankin had a duty to call to the attention of all school personnel and parents in the congressional district the legal requirements relating to surveys like the one distributed to the students in Aspen. The law explicitly states that even if the survey is anonymous, parental consent must be sought and received.

Does Ms. Strassburger condone lawbreaking if the cause, in her view, is just? Does she believe she has the right to interfere with the parent/child relationship in circumstances of her choosing?

This has been a very difficult year for all involved in education and I am sure that the Aspen School District, its administrators, teachers, parents and students have all performed heroically in the face of the unusual challenges presented. I am thankful that our children are too old to have had to confront those challenges as students, although they and our grandchildren have been affected elsewhere in the country.

The survey distributed to the students at Aspen High School is part of a movement that has spread throughout the country that seeks to indoctrinate children into thinking they are either oppressors or oppressed. A close friend of mine, who happens to be black, determined to run for school board in his New York suburb when his daughter came home from school disturbed by the same type of survey the Aspen High School students were asked to complete. We don’t all need to take the drastic step of running for office, but kudos to the parents at Aspen High School and to Board Member Rankin for raising the alarm.

Frieda Wallison

Old Snowmass