I was dismayed to read your report about the apparently angry objections of two school board members to a student survey. The story was all too familiar to me.

I worked for 30 years in the field of substance abuse prevention. Information from student surveys and other data was an important component in planning effective and efficient prevention programs.

Despite the importance of this data, objections from parents about data collection from students presented a constant barrier to its collection. Community anti-drug coalitions, often the result of concerned parents, were at times deprived of the information they needed to make their case that indeed drugs were a problem in local schools.

Ironically, often the barrier to getting this information was reluctance to allow a student survey triggered by fear of parental disapproval of its content. Despite all the concern expressed over various questions on various surveys, I never once heard of a child being led astray because he or she was asked to answer one.

Mel Tremper, Topsham