Elite $57,000-A-Year Brooklyn Private School Asks Students as Young as 10 If All Racial Groups Are as Smart as Each Other
Paul Farrell, Daily Mail, July 9, 2022
An elite Brooklyn private school was forced to shelve an invasive questionnaire that surveyed students as young as 10 about their sexual orientation and their parents’ political beliefs.
Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, which charges parents more than $57,000 per year, disguised the questionnaire under the name ‘DEIB climate survey.’ ‘DEIB’ stands for: ‘diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.’
Statements included: ‘Most people think that people from my racial/ethnic group are as smart as people of other racial/ethnic groups,’ ‘Women have fewer chances to get ahead,’ and ‘Teachers teach about racial inequality in the United States.’
Students were required to answer on a scale going from ‘really agree’ to ‘really disagree.’
The questions went on to become even more intimate in nature, asking about students’ gender and sexual orientation.
Other questions centered around parents’ income, political opinions and personal beliefs. It was administered to children in grades 5 through 12.
The questionnaire was made public by the Virginia-based advocacy group Parents Defending Education. The group describes itself as ‘a national grassroots organization working to reclaim our schools from activists imposing harmful agendas.’
According to the group, the answers were not anonymous and students were required to include their email address in their completed survey.
In one section, students were asked if their parents had made a donation to the school, and how much they had given.
The school was forced to shelve the questionnaire in May after furious backlash from parents.
An email to parents, leaked by Parents Defending Education, from the school’s principal Audrius Barzdukas read: ‘After reviewing our process, we learned of multiple issues with the survey including ones that made the data unreliable.’
The message continued: ‘Those issues included final edits not being included in the version that was administered and significant variability in how the survey was facilitated. All the data have been permanently deleted.’
In an apology, Barzdukas apologized for the ‘confusion and discomfort this survey caused.’
This is not the first time Barzdukas has faced backlash from parents. In November 2021, parents were furious when he fired the school’s football coach Kevin Fountine. The principal accused the coach of promoting ‘toxic culture’ in the school’s football program.
The questionnaire was compiled by the school’s director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Omari Keeles.
According to his LinkedIn page, Keeles has worked at Poly Prep since July 2021. He describes his role as ‘creating, fostering, leading and advocating for the school’s diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice programs and policies.’
Keeles previously worked in similar roles at Northwestern University, the University of Miami and the University of Michigan. He is a graduate of the latter.
In an article on Poly Prep’s website welcoming Keeles to the school, he cites the words of Northwestern assistant professor Kihana Miraya Ross who once wrote: ‘The word ‘racism’ is everywhere. It’s used to explain all the things that cause African-Americans’ suffering and death: inadequate access to health care, food, housing and jobs, or a police bullet, baton or knee. But ‘racism’ fails to fully capture what black people in this country are facing.’
Parents Defending Education said that members in the group spoke to parents who expressed their ‘discomfort with their children being expected to divulge personal information that they may not have, may not understand, and may not want to share.’
The group also said that parents had raised ‘concerns centered around privacy, age-inappropriateness, and whether students are unwittingly being used as ‘guinea pigs’ for a researcher’s academic inquiry projects.’
In a brief statement to the New York Post, a Poly Prep spokesperson said: ‘We did this survey because we are always working to improve our culture of inclusion and belonging, and assessment is part of that process.’
The spokesperson also said that the email address requirement was only used to allow students to login to the questionnaire.
The founder and president of Parents Defending Education Nicole Neily told the Daily Caller: ‘When parents speak up, schools are forced to listen. Poly Prep shows what parents can achieve when they unite against woke administrations.’
Neily added: ‘The parent movement is alive and well, and I expect to see many stories like this in the year to come.’
On its Twitter page, Parents Defending Education describes itself as: ‘We are a national, grassroots nonprofit empowering parents to advocate for classrooms that educate – not indoctrinate.’