Don’t let your children take the Illinois Youth Survey!

Don’t let your children take the Illinois Youth Survey!

If there is ever a fascist takeover in America, it won’t come in the form of storm troopers kicking down doors, but with lawyers and social workers saying, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” ― Jonah Goldberg,


For a guy who prides himself on breaking the big stories and having his ear to the ground, I still manage to miss a few things. And if it wasn’t for a chance social media encounter I would’ve missed the abomination known as the “Illinois Youth Survey.”

For the uninitiated, the Illinois Youth Survey is a Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois contrivance intended to assess alcohol, drug and tobacco use, family support, and bullying issues in our public schools. The purportedly anonymous ten-page-ish biennial questionnaire is presented to participating school districts’ eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders.

The first red flag is that most districts do their damndest to avoid informing parents that the survey is optional. Worse yet, despite a requirement to do so, many schools completely fail to notify parents that their children will be subjected to it. Even when they do let parents in on it, they can choose from two of the following not-so-efficient notification methods:

  1. Information posted to school websites or social network page
  2. Announcement at PTA meetings
  3. Announcement via parent email/listservs sponsored by the school
  4. Inclusion in school or classroom newsletters

If a district chooses options one and two only the most proactive parents will catch on. Considering the invasive nature of the questions, an email notification should be required and parents should have to opt in – not opt out.

The clear inference here is the folks promoting this thing have a guilty conscience right from the start.

It doesn’t get much better after that, because this survey is nothing more than another massive progressive intrusion into our children’s rapidly fading private lives under the guise of trying to make things better, but inevitably making them worse instead.

And even though I’m getting tired of issuing this recurring caveat, since it would be too easy to dismiss a conservative columnist in this regard, for reference purposes I’m actually a card-carrying social liberal.

Because progressives are even more obsessed with our sexuality and racial background than white supremacists, that’s exactly where the survey starts. It’s not that those questions shatter some sort of shaky straight white reality, it’s that the answers to them are none of your damn business.

Please don’t forget that sentiment comes from someone who’s put every thought out there in over 3,000 columns. Let’s just say I’m not a very private person, but even I have my limits.

Since those intrusive questions are utterly immaterial to anything the survey is trying to assess, I’ll save those fine U of I folks a lot of time and effort by reminding them that if you’re “different” in middle or high school, you’ll get picked on. And there isn’t a middle or high school principal within the sound of my overly loud voice who isn’t already aware of that reality.

After briefly asking about school activities, the survey suddenly directs students to self-incriminate themselves by describing their alcohol and drug use in great detail. To be fair, past use isn’t a criminal offense, only possession is, but once you put something down on paper – even “anonymously” – it tends to take on a life of it’s own.

Don’t high school athletes make a written pledge that they won’t do drugs or alcohol?

And as one of the attorneys I spoke with put it, “Anonymous? Yeah right! Don’t tell that me that the second a teacher sees that Johnny the classroom terror’s survey is third from the bottom they don’t pull it out and take a really good look at it.”

But the worst part of this truly terrible idea is that the drug use section serves as a primer on how to be a better and far more efficient drug user.

Don’t get me wrong, though I’m sure some readers would disagree, I’m not an idiot. I fully understand that today’s eighth graders know far more about drug and alcohol options than we did back at St. Nick’s. But having coached grades eight through ten boys soccer for five years, I can also unequivocally tell you that, until they took this survey, those kids didn’t know half of what they know now.

It essentially explains:

  • What alcopops are
  • That you can sniff glue to get high
  • That you can vape marijuana
  • That you can huff aerosol spray cans to get high
  • That cough syrup can get you high
  • The name of every opiate pharmaceutical on the planet
  • That you can use anti-anxiety drugs to get high

Then, because that wasn’t nearly enough, the questionnaire caps it off by describing how you can find many of those substances in your parent’s, or a friend’s parent’s, medicine cabinet. Like I said, the progressive propensity to make the problem worse has become legendary.

Of course, the survey fails to warn students that huffing the wrong aerosol means a quick death and that it’s not too terribly difficult to overdose on today’s opiates. Furthermore, of the 20 opioid medications listed in just one question, I was only aware of 11 of them and I’m a little bit older than your average eighth grader.

The section on feeling safe in school is the least objectionable, but even that one asks students if they carry a handgun or sell illegal drugs which actually is self-incriminating.

Then there’s the question about whether a student has seriously considered suicide in the last year which leads to quite the moral dilemma.

Anonymity be damned! Don’t we as a reasonable and civilized society share a moral imperative to intervene whenever a child is considering taking their own life? And wouldn’t it be beyond callous if we had that information and didn’t do anything about it? The same thing goes for the kid who regular carries a weapon to school.

Oh well! Another school shooting! That’s just collateral damage. But we have the data!

Since we’re clearly moving into two-part territory at this point, we’ll save the argument’s about the survey’s efficacy and intent for next time. But rest assured, my conclusion will be that I would NEVER let my children take this bullshit survey and neither should you.

One thought on “Don’t let your children take the Illinois Youth Survey!

  1. In Nazi Germany the children were so well programmed that they would report their parents to authorities . . In this country ” BIG BROTHER IS (always) WATCHING ” . . I’m guessing within the Survey there are also questions about parental Drug and Alcohol use . . . Anonymity does NOT exist anymore . . .

Leave a Reply