SALT LAKE CITY — A Roy High School teacher is on paid leave after assigning students a questionnaire on their sexual history and drug use that ranked them on a scale from nerd, "pure as Ivory soap and maybe a fruitcake," to "hopeless and condemned."
"The origin of this survey appears to be something that was an Ann Landers, Dear Abby-type of thing," Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay said.
The district has launched a probe into the assignment and the veteran instructor who handed it out for credit, Findlay said.
The 30-question survey titled "Know Thyself" asked whether students have had abortions, been kissed while lying down, or tried alcohol, pot or ecstasy. It went to juniors in a lesson on risky behavior in dating, part of a college-credit class called Adult Roles that also reviews financial literacy.
Survey questions included: "Ever stolen money to buy drugs?" "Have you ever had sex without using a contraceptive?" And "even though you are straight, would you go kinky to see what it's like?" Students racked up points for "yes" answers.
The quiz wasn't an approved part of the course curriculum, Findlay said. Administrators found out about it when a parent complained to the school Friday, and another over the weekend, he said.
Heather Miller called the school after her daughter told her about the survey, saying she was instructed to put her name on it and turn it in, Miller said Monday.
Several of the questions were "disturbing and invasive," she said.
"I was just appalled," Miller said. "You're asking people to basically incriminate themselves and turn this paper into you."
Miller said she found it "worrisome" that prior classes of students may have received the same quiz.
"How many lives have been affected by telling teenagers they're hopelessly condemned or a nerd?" she said.
The assignment was given for credit, Findlay said, but he didn't know whether students received grades corresponding to their scores. The quiz was posted to an online portal and since has been removed.
Findlay noted that such questions go against federal law, as well as Utah State Board of Education rules and district policy prohibiting surveys on sexual behaviors, sexual orientation and illegal or incriminating behavior.
He said he doesn't believe the teacher meant to be malicious in handing out the quiz, but noted that the questions weren't appropriate. Students had to have permission from parents to take the class, Findlay said, but parents weren't consulted on the survey.
"We want to make sure it's not ever given to students in the future," he said. "Our apologies go out to the students and their families."
Findlay said he's not sure how many students were in the class, and he declined to give the teacher's name, saying the district is still investigating.
The probe is being led in part by the district's human resources director and an attorney for Weber schools, Findlay said. He added that he did not know the exact makeup of the investigating team, and he didn't have an estimate of when the proceeding would be completed.
"Our district takes great pride in providing quality education to over 31,000 students in Weber County," Findlay said in a statement. "Although we strive for a standard of perfection in teaching, occasionally mistakes are made. In such cases, it will be dealt with appropriately, always with the best interests of our students in mind."
Contributing: Carter Williams