WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut mother Cara Paiuk wasn’t sure what to expect when she headed to a parents orientation to sign her son up for kindergarten at Aiken Elementary School.
But when she sat down to fill out the required application for the West Hartford elementary school, she was floored.
Under the heading Birth History, parents are asked to a litany of questions about whether their child was born by C-section or vaginal, if they were premature and the number of weeks if so, as well as other seemingly irrelevant personal questions about birth complications.
The form even requires parents to give an explanation if their child did not come home from the hospital with the family immediately after birth, Fox 10 reports.
The C-section question was particularly unnecessary, Paiuk said.
“There’s so many different questions you could ask, and it isn’t anyone’s business, and it has no relevance,” Paiuk told Fox 10. “I was stunned to see this form, and I couldn’t understand the relevance of it.”
So Paiuk pressed for answers from school officials, who have yet to provide any good ones.
Aiken school staff first referred Paiuk to the school nurse.
“She basically explained — in not so many words — really they’re looking for any birth trauma that might have happened…but as most of us know, birth trauma can happen by C-section or vaginal birth, so it still did not click with me,” Paiuk said.
The mother told Fox 10 officials said the questions have been on the form for years, but when Paiuk submitted a public information request to verify the claim, the request was denied.
Paiuk said other parents are now realizing they should have paid more attention to the forms they filled out, and agree the questions are unnecessarily personal.
“Most parents I’ve spoken to are outraged…and they are almost outraged at themselves, like, did I fill that, did I not even question it? Am I filling out forms blindly,” Paiuk told the news site.
Two school officials – the superintendent and school board president – told Paiuk they’d find out the reasoning behind the intrusive school forms, but never provided an answer, she said.
West Hartford Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Nancy DePalma told Fox 10 the district is reviewing questions asked on enrollment forms in other districts, and gave lip service to re-evaluating West Hartford’s inquiries to make them “more meaningful and efficient,” Fox 10 reports.
The district’s apparent lack of concern likely stems from the fact that its top brass already has its hands full with a lot of other problems.
West Hartford schools was hit with its second lawsuit over allegations the district fails to properly supervise students, which attorneys argue has resulted in repeated sexual assaults between students, Fox CT reports.
The most recent lawsuit, alleges that poor supervision led to an autistic boy being sodomized by a bully repeatedly at King Philip Middle School despite assurances from officials that they would separate the students after the initial attack.
The episode followed a similar situation at Sedgewick Middle School, where another student was repeatedly sexually assaulted by another student in the boy’s locker room.
“Further, another count in the lawsuit alleges that the school and Board of Education attempted to cover up the negligence after the King Philip sexual assault occurred and failed to provide an explanation or any information about the incident to Child Doe’s parents,” Fox CT reports.