(LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic school board in Canada will ask students to self-certify their gender identity and provide other private information in a school-wide survey kept hidden from parents.
The Waterloo (Ontario) Catholic District School Board (WCDSB), which made headlines for flying an LGBTQ pride flag outside its headquarters last year, announced the launch of its “School Climate Survey” for children in grades 4 through 12 on its website.
Students will have from February 22 to March 11 to complete the voluntary survey, which the board says will be anonymous.
The survey adopted by the school district is called the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) and was developed by a research team at Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) led by Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl at the University of British Columbia.
According to the school board, whose motto is “Quality, Inclusive, Faith Based Education,” the 77-question survey “asks students about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in school and in the community.”
The WCDSB, which states that it is committed to “dismantling racism” and working “intentionally to disrupt oppressive systems for the benefit of future generations,” said the goal of the research is to “help prevent bullying and promote safe and inclusive schools, determine the effectiveness of programs on an ongoing basis, and build and sustain a positive school climate.”
The school board has stated that only staff within the district’s Research & Data Services Department “will have access to your child’s anonymous survey responses,” which will otherwise be kept hidden from parents, teachers, and principals.
Some of the questions included in the lengthy survey have raised alarm bells, especially those having to do with gender identity.
According to a copy of the survey obtained by LifeSiteNews, students are asked to identify which adults they “live with most of the time,” including options for selecting “two mothers,” “two fathers,” or “other adults.”
Children are also asked to answer “how do you describe your gender?”
The survey respondents, children age nine through 18, can select “boy,” “girl” or indicate that they identify “in another way.”
Moreover, students are advised that they can select “more than one box,” allowing them to identify as multiple combinations of genders, including both a boy and a girl simultaneously.
For the next question, the survey provides a field in which students can craft a personalized description of their gender identity.
This isn’t the first time the WCDSB has asked students to answer questions regarding gender identity.
Last year, LifeSite reported the board had launched a census initiative asking children as young as nine years old to answer questions about sexual orientation and gender identity as part of an alleged effort to “eliminate systemic racism.”
In addition to concerns about the normalization of gender ideology, it’s unclear whether the student responses to the WCDSB’s survey will be kept truly anonymous.
According to the school board’s public-facing website, “No personal information will be collected from students on the survey (e.g., email, name, birthdate, student ID). Therefore, responses from the survey cannot be connected with information already held by the Board in our student information system.”
However, the board went on to acknowledge that “we are collecting identifiers that, if combined with other information, could allow a determined individual to re-identify specific people,” though they were “implementing safeguards to prevent this potential outcome.”
Meanwhile, despite asserting that they would not collect students’ birthdates, the very first question in the survey asks students to provide their date of birth.
In addition, children are asked to select whether they are a member of a “first nations,” Métis, or Inuit ethnic group, and fill in the answers to dozens of questions having to do with their personal lives and feelings.
The wide-ranging probative questions ask students when they go to bed at night, what they like to do for fun, how strong their support system is from parents and teachers, whether they are emotionally stable, and whether or not they eat healthy food.
The questions paint a picture of the type of measures school boards like the WCDSB might enact based upon the ostensibly anonymized answers they receive.
LifeSiteNews reached out to the Waterloo Catholic District School Board for comment but has yet to hear back.
Meanwhile, the concerning questions in the survey are not unique to Catholic schools in the Ontario area.
Over the past year, most notably in the United States, school officials have received massive backlash from parents and community members after evidence emerged that educators have deliberately inculcated young children into radical gender ideology, made available sexually explicit materials, and guided children into adopting transgender identities.
Radical gender and racial ideology in schools have become a major political flashpoint, spurring a wave of protests at many school board meetings.
Conservatives have frequently pointed out that private and even religious schools are not immune from the kind of radical ideologies taught in public schools.
Daily Wire commentator and Catholic homeschooling father of four Matt Walsh explained during a Thursday podcast that private schools aren’t a safe haven for kids.
While acknowledging “it’s possible to find private schools that are not part of the greater culture, and which are run and staffed by adults that you can actually trust to handle the precious task of educating your kids,” Walsh argued that “the preponderance of private schools do not fall into that category.”
On Wednesday, LifeSite’s Jonathan van Maren highlighted a report that “noted that 30 students at the Archbishop M.C. O’Neill Catholic High School in Regina, Saskatchewan, had launched a campaign to send Valentine’s Day cards to various people who identify as transgender around the world.”
The students are members of the ostensibly Catholic school’s so-called Gay-Straight Alliance club.