Milton Public Schools give intrusive survey to students, commit to affinity groups; parents express concern
In early 2021, parents from Milton, Massachusetts, reached out to Parents Defending Education, expressing concern about a 20-page survey given to their middle school and high school children, asking intrusive questions about students’ sexuality and gender.
On March 23, 2021, The Milton Times reported:
About a dozen parents, mostly of middle school students, have complained to school officials about a survey that went out to their children’s email addresses including questions asking them to state their sexual orientation and gender preference.
Some of the parents said the survey should have gone out to them instead of their children, whom they felt were too young to be presented with such questions. They also issued concerns about privacy.
School Superintendent James Jette defended the Milton Public Schools Quality Review Survey by saying it is being done by an outside consultant, Cambridge Education, as an important diagnostic tool for the district that is part of an equity audit currently underway.
The 20-page survey asked questions, including:
- “What is your gender?” Answers included “Genderqueer or Genderfluid” and “Questioning.”
- “Do you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, aromantic / asexual, or questioning?”
Here is a recent draft of the Milton School Committee’s Antiracism Resolution:
In 2020, parents expressed concern over Pierce Middle School’s “affinity groups,” also known as segregated spaces.
In a message to parents, the school principal, William Fish, wrote:
“Affinity Groups: Throughout the 2019-2020 school year the Pierce Diversity Committee worked to initiate affinity groups for our students of color. The implement of these pilot groups was halted by the school closure this spring, but we are prepared to move forward with these opportunities for students in the fall.”
July 8, 2020 — Superintendent Mary Gormley issued a statement on “Milton Public School’s Anti-Racism Agenda.”
Sept. 9, 2020 — In recent years, Milton Public Schools has become increasingly focused on “diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.” In September 2020, it issued a request for proposal or solicitation for written quotes for an “equity audit.”
- Oct. 22, 2020 — Milton Public Schools published an announcement about the “Pierce Mosaic Club,” writing:
“The Pierce Mosaic Club is an affinity group for students of color who identify as African American/Black, Latinx/Hispanic American, Native American, Middle Eastern American, Asian/Asian American, or Multiracial. The purpose of the affinity group is to provide students of color with a safe space to build connections, provide academic, social, and cultural affirmation, foster healthy identity development, and develop leadership and self-advocacy skills.”
The meetings would meet virtually every Thursday after school from 2:50 p.m. until 3:20 p.m., starting Oct. 22, 2020.
April 15, 2021— Pierce Middle School again promoted its segregation-based activities, noting:
All elementary schools and with Pierce Middle School faculty are working collaboratively to identify opportunities to successfully transition students. The Elementary/Pierce Mentoring Project is designed to connect students who identify as BIPOC and API in the fifth grade across the district with mentors who are members of the Mosaic Club, Pierce Middle School’s BIPOC student affinity group.
Our seventh grade mentors have participated in a virtual training provided by the Boston-based social justice and activism organization, Wee the People (https://www.weethepeopleboston.org/) in preparation for this mentoring project. The program is a social justice enrichment program for Milton youth and is intended to bring together a group of young people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds to build community through exploring identity and social justice issues. This program will also help to support fifth graders’ transition to Pierce in the fall and provide them valuable opportunities to connect across all four elementary schools to form relationships and bonds that will sustain them through the transition and beyond. Mentors and mentees will be meeting four times between now and the end of the year, with sessions facilitated by our trained seventh graders and supported by MPS elementary and Pierce staff. This project was the brainchild of MPS parent, Meg Matthews, and funded by a generous Celebrate Milton Grant. It is our collective hope that this structure can be expanded and grown to support MPS students for years to come.