Former students defend Roy High teacher behind controversial quiz

Posted at 10:26 PM, Sep 12, 2017

ROY, Utah — Former Roy High School students are defending a teacher the Weber School District put on leave Monday, after current students were given a controversial sexual history and relationships quiz.

The district said parents complained about the quiz, which wasn’t part of the curriculum.

Emily Shelton graduated from Roy High earlier this year. She said she took Candace Thurgood’s Adult Roles class her junior year, and remembers looking at the "Know Thyself" survey.

“I do have the survey still,” she said, picking up a pink sheet of paper from her Adult Roles binder.

Shelton said the class went over topics dealt with in adulthood, from finances and taxes, to relationships and marriage.

“I really, really enjoyed class,” Shelton said of her experience taking Adult Roles.

She said Ms. Thurgood was a positive teacher, and helped many of her students.

On Monday, she heard the district launched an investigation and placed Thurgood on leave over that "Know Thyself" survey.

“She doesn't deserve all of what she's getting,” Shelton said. “You really have to know her, that she would not mean any of this in hurtful or bad way.”

The survey asks 30 questions about a teen’s sexual behavior, relationship history, and drug and alcohol use.

Questions include:

  1. Ever gone out with a member of the opposite sex?
  2. Ever been kissed against your will?
  3. Do you smoke pot?
  4. Have you (your girl) ever had an abortion?

It assigns points to each question, which are added up on a scale, ranging from “A nerd,” and “Pure as Ivory soap,” to “Headed for trouble,” and “Hopeless and condemned.”

The Weber School District said the quiz appeared to come from a 1981 Dear Abby Column. They said Monday the class discusses human sexuality, and parents must sign a waiver—but that the quiz was not part of the curriculum.

Kayla Kohl, like Shelton, also graduated this year and took the quiz in high school.

“I honestly didn't think anything of it,” she said. “I knew it was anonymous. We didn't have to do it. She still gave us points.”

Kohl and her fellow former students Alexander Peterson and Samantha Lozano were upset to learn Ms. Thurgood was placed on paid leave following the complaints.

“Ms. Thurgood is one of the two greatest teachers that I had in that high school,” Peterson said.

Lozano agreed.

“Ms. Thurgood is out-of-the-world awesome, I loved her,” she said. “She's honestly an amazing teacher.”

She said in the end, she hopes the district will leave Thurgood in place.

“They should just take away the quiz, don't take away the teacher,” Lozano said. “She's a big part of the school.”