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Cherry Creek Schools defend 'white privilege' survey issued to staff

Posted: 8:32 PM, Oct 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-13 05:09:42Z
AURORA, Colo. -- A number of Cherry Creek School District employees are frustrated over the 'white privilege' survey the district recently had them complete.
 
One of the employees contacted the Denver 7 Investigates team anonymously.  In short, the employee didn't feel comfortable about taking the survey.
 
 
Students have not had to take the survey, but Denver 7 spoke with Ochirbat Purevsaikhan, a senior, outside the Overland-Prairie campus to hear his thoughts about it.
 
"I mean, the title is definitely suspicious," he said.  "It's definitely weird.  Like, 'White Privilege Survey.'"
 
The survey includes 26 statements such as, "Because of my race or color... I can comfortably avoid, ignore, or minimize the impact of racism on my life."
 
The survey takers are asked to score themselves a five if the statement is often true for them, a three if the statement is sometimes true for them, or a zero if the statement is seldom or never true for them.
 
"It was designed to make people aware that their experiences, whatever they are, wherever they come from, are not exactly the same as other people's," district spokesperson Tustin Amole said.
 
She said Cherry Creek Schools have used the survey, at times, since 2003 in diversity training sessions to help address "opportunity gaps" between students who come from different backgrounds.
 
Currently, 45 percent of students attending the district are not white.
 
"This work works," Amole said.  "And we will continue to do it."
 
The same survey made news in suburban Portland, Ore. in the last two weeks where a group of students had to complete it.   A father felt like the survey was a "social experiment" that shouldn't be administered in classrooms.
 
In the Cherry Creek Schools, Denver7 found mixed opinions.
 
Purevsaikhan appreciates the diversity in his school and supports any effort to embrace it.
 
"I don't see any problem with [the survey]," he said of its intended purpose.

Questions about this story? Have a news tip or story idea? Contact Denver7 Investigative Reporter Ryan Luby by email or follow him on Twitter ( @RyanSLuby ).

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