TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Florida has replaced a federal youth behavior survey with its own “Florida-Specific Youth Survey.”
The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) survey covers a variety of topics, including diet, physical activity, violence, sexual behavior, STDs, pregnancy and the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Students as young as 10 years old who chose to participate are asked about how many people they have had sex with, whether they have had oral sex, and whether they have sex with females or males. Additional questions include:
- “During the past 12 months, how many times did anyone force you to do sexual things that you did not want to do?”
- “Have you ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when you did not want to?”
- “How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?”
“INFLAMMATORY AND SEXUALIZED”
In March 2022, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) sent a letter to the CDC notifying the federal agency that the state would no longer be participating in the survey. This past February, FDOE Commissioner Manny Diaz called the CDC survey “inflammatory and sexualized.”
“There were all sorts of questions that, in my opinion, as a parent, are best left for parents to have those conversations with their kids,” Lee County mom Christy Devigili told WFTS.
“CHARACTER AND DECISION-MAKING”
Devigili was part of a state workgroup to help develop the state’s new survey that she said is more focused on “character” and “decision-making.”
Only three questions ask students about sex and all of those questions focus on abstinence. There are no questions related to gender identity.
Additional topics students are asked about include: honesty, self-awareness, internet-safety, nutrition, disease prevention, substance abuse and “teen dating violence and abuse.”
“The Florida-Specific Youth Survey aligns to the required instruction for Resiliency Education, Civic and Character Education, and Life Skills Education, as well as other areas of Health Education,” a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Education told The Florida Standard in a statement on Friday. “The survey results will provide enhanced alignment of services, support and instruction to better meet the needs of our students.”
The department anticipates results from the survey will be available this summer. The full survey can be viewed below.