To opt in or opt out: What's your school's 'annual notice' telling you?

Kevin Keen

To opt in or opt out: What's your school's 'annual notice' telling you?

CREATED Aug. 19, 2013

VAIL, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - After his children’s school sent home a letter about privacy and decency issues, one parent asked 9 On Your Side to investigate. How can he protect his kids?

With school back in session, many parents have received an “annual notice” or a similar document. The law requires public schools to send home the yearly letters to inform families about their right to privacy, records, decency and other topics.
 
Vail School District parent Tom Paluda read his letter and wondered about one particular section. It describes times when students might take surveys about sex, religion, politics or other touchy topics.
 
Paluda was shocked to think he’d have to “opt out” in writing so his first and second graders wouldn’t be subjected to such sensitive surveys.
 
“When I read this, I was just flabbergasted,” he said. “It doesn't seem like any place in the educational process.”
 
9 On Your Side asked the superintendent to clarify the notice, largely written in legalese. Does Paluda need to opt out?
 
Baker said no, the law actually protects students from those sensitive surveys. 9 On Your Side found that’s standard for local public schools.
 
“He doesn't have to do anything because before we can do any of those kinds of surveys, we have to get his permission,” Calvin Baker said.
 
Baker added a parent can always ask their school of clarification.

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