Wyoming Prevention Needs Assessment Survey

Information for Schools and Districts

Survey Questionnaire

Review the current Wyoming PNA survey questionnaire.

 Download Questionnaire

Letters of Support

Letters of support explain the Wyoming Department of Health's endorsement of the PNA. The other letters from WYSAC introduce the survey to the school districts and schools, soliciting their participation.

 Dept of Health Letter

 Superintendent Letter

 School Principal Letter

Conducting the Prevention Needs Assessment Survey with Passive Parental Consent

This page presents the federal legislation on parent permission for school-based surveys. It also explains how the survey does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Protections Act (FERPA).

Active assent is needed for a survey when all of the following items occur:

  • the survey is developed or administered using U.S. Department of Education money,
  • the survey requires student participation, and
  • the survey includes one or more of the categories from the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment.

Since the PNA is not federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education and does not require student participation (participation is voluntary), active consent is not required.

Download an example of the PNA passive parental consent letter by clicking on the button.

 Sample Consent Letter for Parents

Federal Legislation on Parent Permission for School-Based Surveys

Family Privacy Protection Act of 1995

This amendment would have required written parental permission before a minor could be asked about sensitive questions in any program or activity funded by the federal government.

Enacted: Not enacted

Impact on PNA: None

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (a.k.a. the Hatch Amendment or Grassley Amendment)

This requires written consent for required surveys funded by the U.S. Department of Education on seven topics:

  1. political affiliation or beliefs;
  2. mental or psychological problems;
  3. sexual behaviors or attitudes;
  4. illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behaviors;
  5. close family relationships;
  6. legally recognized privileged relationships; and
  7. income.

Enacted: 1994

Impact on PNA: None. The PNA is not a required survey and is not funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The PNA is strictly voluntary. Parents can opt their child out of the survey and students can choose not to participate.

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (a.k.a. the Tiahrt Amendment)

This law reauthorizes PPRA and adds an additional topic for the requirement of written consent for U.S. Department of Education funded surveys if they ask about religious practices.

It also adds three new requirements:

  1. schools must have a policy to protect student privacy,
  2. parents must be able to inspect the questionnaire, and
  3. parents must be able to opt the student out of participating.

Enacted: 2002

Impact on PNA: Some. The PNA survey has protocols in place for all three requirements:

  1. The students are advised to not put their name or any other identifying information on the survey. The students will be placed around the classroom to ensure that other students cannot see their responses. The teacher is instructed to stay in the front of the classroom and not walk around the room while students complete the survey. When finished, the students will place their surveys in a common classroom envelope, which will be sealed immediately after the survey administration.
  2. The parents will be able to view a blank copy of the questionnaire. It is available in each principal’s office and on the internet.
  3. Schools will inform parents about the survey and provide a method for parents to opt the student out of survey participation. This may be done via a school newsletter, letters sent to parents, or any other method chosen by the school. Typically, a consent form will be sent home to the parents approximately two weeks before the administration date. This form will allow the parents to opt the student out of the survey.

FERPA (a.k.a. Buckley Amendment)

This is a federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s educational records. This law applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education.

The specific concern of this law was the ability to personally identify the students of the survey.

Personally identifiable information includes, but is not limited to:

  1. the student's name;
  2. the name of the student's parent or another family member;
  3. the address of the student or student's family;
  4. a personal identifier, such as the student's Social Security number or student number;
  5. a list of personal characteristics that would make the student's identity easily traceable; and
  6. other information that would make the student's identity easily traceable.

Enacted: 1974

Impact on PNA: Some. The PNA survey does not ask the student for any identifying information. The instructions specifically request the students to not include their name or identifying characteristics on the survey booklet or bubble sheet. The surveys are placed and shipped in a sealed envelope.

Upon arriving at WYSAC, the surveys will be scanned and analyzed. The results will only be released as a compilation and there will not be any capability to connect individual students to the data.

To protect confidentiality, the results are not broken down by gender or ethnicity in the rural schools with small populations of students.