Northwest NEWS

April 26, 1999

Editorial

Students are learning another lesson

   Is it just me or did anyone else think that the Home Energy Survey brought home by the eighth grade science students from Timbercrest Junior High crossed the line of privacy?

   For those of you who didn't see it, it was a booklet filled with dozens of questions that the student needed to answer. The questions ranged from how old is your refrigerator to who supplies your utility services, and everything in between that relates to water, fuel, and electricity consumption. The questions were quite harmless by themselves, but when added together with the rest of the survey, created an incredibly detailed report being gathered on our living habits.

   What bothers me equally as much is the fact that my son blindly handed me this survey thinking that there would be no problem answering the 50-plus questions. Then he tells me that if he doesn't hand it in, he won't have anything to do in his science class for the next week.

   Yes, there was an optional page for your name and address and, yes, some sort of report will be sent back suggesting energy-saving improvements, but there is another lesson being taught. Students are an impressionable segment of our society, and if they are being taught that intrusive surveys like this are OK, what's next?

Erich Britton, Woodinville