Some Wake County parents upset over survey that would rate students on emotional and behavioral health

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Parents at Green Hope High School received a letter that the school would rate the social, emotional and behavioral health of their children.

The survey is part of a pilot program that only a few schools are participating. Some of the questions teachers will consider include whether a student appeared depressed, engaged in risk-taking behavior, or had problems staying on task.

One parent says it shouldn't be taking place at any.

"I don't understand why they are trying to do this to the kids," said Green Hope High parent Rachael Ayscue. "I'm frustrated."

Ayscue feels a mental health professional or behavioral specialist would be better qualified to administer such a survey rather than a teacher.

"I don't think they're appropriate for the schools. I don't think it's fair to put the teachers in the position to have to analysis the students in this way. They're educated in the curriculum that they're teaching, not in behavioral science," she said.

The survey is called the Behavior Intervention Monitoring Assessment System, or BISMA for short.

Eight Wake County schools are participating in the pilot program.

ABC11 is waiting for information of the full list of questions.

The District says it's merely meant to get a temperature check of student needs.

"Teachers have a level of trust with their students that others might not," said Wake County Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Paul Koh. "Our teachers are most qualified to administer this screener because they're the ones that are with our students the most and they're the ones that build relationships."

Wake County school officials are assuring the information will remain confidential and reviewed internally.

"This is a behavioral screener and not a mental health assessment," said Koh. "We're doing this as part of a larger initiative to make sure we can support you best."

"If there is a problem with the kids, we should have enough guidance counselors and people there and parents involved to do these kinds of things. Why are we taking class time and teachers to do this," said Ayscue.

The District says it is up to the school to decide when to administer the surveys this fall; parents can opt-out.

Wake County officials say it will make sure parents have adequate time to make a decision.
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