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Parkway West Middle parent concerned about mock election questions that were ‘too serious’

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CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – Although many school districts have mock elections, one parent believed some of the questions his Parkway West Middle school 7-grader received were too serious for his 12-year-old.

The middle school sent a list of questions home with their 7-graders aimed to help them have conversations with their parents with the goal to help them form political ideologies.

Andy Heifner got a letter saying the kids would be discussing their answers in class, but he said they decided to pass on this optional exercise.

“The capital punishment, video surveillance, same-sex marriage, death penalty, second amendment rights. These are tough issues,” Heifner said.

Heifner emailed the school and said he didn’t want his step-son to participate in the assignment, but he never heard back.

FOX2/KPLR11 reached out to the Assistant Super Intendent for Parkway School District Kevin Beckner and discovered the email got lost.

Beckner said he spoke with the principal who then reached out to Heifner to talk about the issue.

Heifner said the principal apologized for not calling back. He wanted to know why kids would need to discuss these topics in class.

Heifner was told the teacher changed some wording of the district letter that made it confusing.

“I guess there was a mistake there,” Beckner said. “There was wording we need to correct. I’m glad the parent pointed it out. We don’t want kids to feel like they have to discuss personal opinions.”

The middle school said some parents like the questions, some don’t. They are just trying to open doors for kids and parents to talk about issues and help them become more aware.

Heifner said he understands mock elections but thinks the optional question list will eventually divide kids.

“If a student 12,13 has a strong view on same-sex marriage, his or her opinion in the classroom gets shared and that kid is labeled,” Heifner said.

Like many other districts, Parkway said they have participated in this program for several years with success and kids’ answers are only for them and their families.

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