An “identity inventory” issued to fifth-graders — 10- and 11-year-olds — at Maryland’s St. Paul’s School for Boys has drawn complaints from parents, who are also taking issue with a recent “gender and sexual identity” conference at the private school.

The survey distributed to students in January focused on topics including gender identities, sexualities, religion and “cognitive” abilities, with probing questions parents believe crossed the line, CITC reports.

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Students were asked to select their gender as “cisgender,” “transgender,” “gender non-conforming,” or “agender,” defined as “someone who does not identify as having a gender.”

Other questions probed whether students consider their “cognitive ability” to be “able,” “average,” or “learning difference.”

Families who spoke with CITC said they were not informed about the intrusive survey, which allowed students to choose more than one identity or leave categories blank if they felt “uncomfortable sharing and discussing.”

Public backlash prompted the school to hold an emergency board meeting, though the outcome of that is unclear. Others looking in, meanwhile, have questioned why school officials would need such “deeply personal” information.

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“Why does anyone in a school need to know about a child’s gender identity or sexuality, especially at such a young age?” Defense of Freedom Institute spokeswoman Angela Morabito said. “It just seems totally unnecessary and really invasive.”

Morabito told CITC school officials shouldn’t have assumed all parents were comfortable with the survey, particularly since they weren’t notified ahead of time.

“Parents deserve to know what’s going on inside their school during the day,” she said. “If they don’t want their child being asked to answer those very deeply personal questions, parents should have a say and be able to put a stop to it.”

The survey is the latest symptom of the district’s struggles with handling controversial issues involving gender identity and left-leaning politics.

Morabito and others also raised concerns in January with the private school hosting an annual conference for the Association of Independent Maryland & D.C. Schools titled “Belonging in Gender and Sexual Identity” earlier this month.

Speakers at the event came from The Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ+ advocacy nonprofit, that focuses on “sexually inclusive education” through things like student pronoun surveys, resources for LGBTQ+ students, and building connections in support of the transgender lifestyle.

“When you’ve got a conference at a school that’s teaching participants how to circumvent parents or how to tell parents they’re wrong about their own kids, you know that school is not putting students and families first,” Morabito told CITC. Parents “are partners in learning, they are not opponents of learning.”

School officials did not respond to CITC’s request for information on the conference. The conference also pulled information from its website when CITC inquired.

Morabito contends the conference is part of a national agenda to push LGBTQ+ advocacy in schools at the cost of more important learning.

“In Baltimore, this problem is particularly severe because you’re looking at 23 public schools where zero students are proficient in math,” she said. “So, we already know there are far too many public schools that just are not prioritizing learning. To see it in the private schools is also a problem because … it’s still not what’s best for kids, it’s still not what families want.”

More recently, parents and others launched a petition in hopes of convincing St. Paul’s Schools to halt its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs to collect feedback from the community, WBFF reports.

The petition contends “the administration is pursuing the development of this program in a manner that either lacks competence or good judgement” and some of the discussion has been “inappropriate and unnecessary.”

“They’re asking for the board to simply present a plan, a program for their DEI initiatives that the community can, you know, give feedback,” Alexis Nester, with Parents Defending Freedom, told the news site. “That’s the most basic thing that this school could do for these families.”

School officials responded to WBFF’s inquiry about the DEI plan with a statement about its “duty to equip students with the empathy and awareness to engage with different beliefs and perspectives, thereby preparing them to thrive in a culturally and ideologically diverse world.”