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Education Reporter

Sexual Orientation Survey Sparks Outcry
ORLEANS COUNTY, VT - A controversy erupted at the start of the 2000-2001 school year over a questionnaire called "Questions for Exploring Sexual Orientation." The survey asked high school students a variety of provocative questions including "What causes heterosexuality?" and "When did you choose your sexual orientation?"

The questionnaire provoked outrage among parents, who are concerned that a "gay agenda" is being taught in the schools. One parent, Timothy Terhune, ran a full-page ad in the Chronicle newspaper on Sept. 6, 2000 which included a reprint of the questionnaire (see below) and a small portion of the Vermont Constitution stating that schools should encourage virtue. Terhune said he has no grudge against the teachers or Lake Region High School - one of several in the area using the questionnaire as part of a health and family life curriculum - but that he "just thinks it's wrong."

Lake Region health and wellness teacher Joan Vincent told the Chronicle that the questionnaire was only a small part of the course, and was used to prompt classroom discussions about sexual orientation. She claimed that the survey "asks questions of heterosexuals that are normally asked of homosexuals, in an attempt to make heterosexuals think about how it would feel to be gay."

The course, which reportedly conforms to Vermont's "Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities," also assesses "risk behaviors" including drugs, alcohol, and unprotected sex. A section on STDs and contraception requires students to "learn the skills necessary to critically examine materials, form their own opinions, and make informed decisions."

State Representative Nancy Sheltra agreed that a homosexual agenda has crept into the schools. "We should not be using our taxpayers' money this way," she said.

Questions for Exploring Sexual Orientation

  1. Define heterosexuality.

  2. How can you tell if someone is heterosexual (straight)?

  3. What causes heterosexuality?

  4. Is it possible that heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?

  5. The media seems to portray straights as preoccupied with (genital) sex. Do you think this is so?

  6. Do you think straights flaunt their sexuality? If so, why?

  7. In a straight couple, who takes the dominant role and who takes the passive role?

  8. 40% of married couples get divorced. Why is it difficult for straights to stay in long-term relationships?

  9. Considering the consequences of overpopulation, could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual?

  10. 99% of reported rapists are heterosexual. Why are straights so sexually aggressive?

  11. The majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you consider it safe to expose chil- dren to heterosexual teachers, scout leaders, coaches, etc.?

  12. Are you offended when a straight person of the other sex "comes on" to you?

  13. When did you choose your sexual orientation?

  14. How easy would it be for you if you wanted to change your sexual orientation starting right now?

  15. What have been your reactions to answering these questions? What feelings have you experienced? Why?

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