- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

FULTON, Mo. (AP) - Fulton Public Schools has launched an investigation into a teacher-led activity referred to as a “survey” that has upset participating students and parents.

The Fulton Sun (https://bit.ly/19QkZ1O ) reports that during a Fulton Middle School physical education class on Friday, teachers conducted an activity called “Claim It,” in which students were read various statements about their identity. If the statement applied to a student’s life, he or she stepped forward in a line, according to the “Claim It” activity materials provided by the school district.

Some of the statements that upset parents and students touched on topics such as sexual abuse and financial problems inside the students’ homes.

Superintendent Jacque Cowherd apologized to parents for any stress the activity caused, and said it was a voluntary exercise. He acknowledged that the students may not have seen the activity as voluntary.

According to Fulton Public Schools, the activity was a part of a school day focusing on character education and is a part of the Fulton Middle School health curriculum. The newspaper reports that the “Claim it” materials say the activity is designed to encourage people to claim the many parts of their identities and respect the identities of others.

“The activity is designed to be welcoming and inclusive so students don’t feel isolated and alone,” the release states. “It is never the intent to make any student feel unwelcome or uncomfortable.”

One parent said her daughter, a sixth-grade student, has experienced crying spells since the activity and has expressed that she does not want to return to school after spring break. The mother also said her daughter told her that teachers had asked the students not to discuss the activity outside of class.

“You know you’re doing something wrong when you ask them not to discuss (the activity) outside of class,” the mother said.

The superintendent said that he was informed by the principal that some of the statements were removed from the activity, which continued after the first class, after students brought up concerns.

Cowherd said Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Hull is investigating the situation and will be setting up interviews with teachers about the activity.


Information from: The Fulton Sun, https://www.fultonsun.com

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