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Minnesota student says teacher told her to hide 'equity survey' questions from parents

"One question asked us what gender we identify with," revealed a student who was in fourth grade at the time. "I was very confused along with a lot of other classmates."

Updated: August 2, 2021 - 5:06pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A student in the Sartell-St. Stephen School District just north of St. Cloud, Minn. is speaking out after the school required grade-school children take an "equity" survey.

Some students didn't understand some of the survey questions, but were told by a teacher they couldn't repeat the survey questions to their parents, according to a video uploaded by Alphanews.

The survey asked questions that some students didn't understand. Even after hearing an explanation from their teacher, some still couldn't comprehend the survey questions.

But a teacher told the students they couldn't ask their parents for help, according to Haylee Yasgar, a fourth-grader at the time.

"My teacher said that I could not skip any questions even when I didn't understand them," Yasgar said during a school board meeting last week. "One question asked us what gender we identify with. I was very confused along with a lot of other classmates."

She said students were told they could not "repeat any of the questions to our parents."

The school district hadn't responded to a request for comment by publication time. It’s unclear what value a survey holds if respondents don't understand the questions.

"Being asked to hide this from my mom made me very uncomfortable, like I was doing something wrong," she told the school board.

The equity survey is part of an intensifying clash over how school systems nationwide should teach issues related not only to sexuality but race as well in the state where George Floyd died in police custody last year.

Now that the city has settled a wrongful death lawsuit in the Floyd case for $27 million and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for third-degree murder and manslaughter, the question remains how school systems should explain similar events to kids.

Despite being more than 40 years old, Critical Race Theory has emerged as a flashpoint over the last year, often pitting teachers and school administrators against parents.

CRT holds that "the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans," according to Britannica.

CRT scholars allege many societal problems are rooted in the country's white majority using laws and other power to suppress the non-white population, whether consciously or subconsciously.

CRT opponents claim its conclusions rely on anecdotes and storytelling, rather than a comprehensive examination of evidence, and fail to take into account strides that the nation has made toward racial equality.

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