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Shaler Area says students can take part in poll

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By Bethany Hofstetter
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:30 p.m.
 

The Shaler Area School District will participate in a Gallup poll for the first time next month.

In a 7-1 vote, with Jeanne Petrovich dissenting, the school board approved the administration of the 2012 Gallup Student Poll to students in the seventh through 12th grades.

The poll is administered each year in October to track the hopes, engagement and well-being of students in grades five to 12.

This year, Gallup officials invited Shaler Area to participate in the poll.

The proposal ignited a lengthy discussion among the school board members earlier this month with concerns about offering the poll as well as how it would affect the students.

Petrovich said she was not comfortable with giving the survey of 20 questions to the students and referred to the Shaler Area School District Board Policy 235.

Policy 235, Students Rights, reads that “no student shall be required, as part of any curricular and/or School District extracurricular program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals (personal) information.”

The policy also states that surveys may be given on a voluntary basis, but the questions must be made available for review before being administered, and no survey is to be given without the prior written consent of the student's parent.

As part of the approval and to answer concerns from school board members, Superintendent Wes Shipley said the poll will be given in accordance with the policy.

“They have to bring in a written permission (slip), that will be their ticket to take the poll,” Shipley said.

Gary Mignogno, director of human resources, said the poll questions, in their entirety, will be printed with the permission form for the parents.

The Gallup poll will be available to students for one week in October during school hours.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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