The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is standing by a controversial new survey that will ask parents and students a series of personal questions, including ones related to students' sexual orientation.

"The more we know about our students, the more we know about their needs, the more we can concentrate on making school a safe place, a place where they feel valued," said Barrie Hammond, the school board's director of education.

But some parents say the survey—which also asks about students' religion, their ethnic backgrounds, who they live with at home, and their parents' employment status—is an invasion of privacy.

"I think it's kind of personal," said Sherri McNeil, a mother of three. "I don't think my daughter should be asked questions like that."

  • Read the entire survey HERE!

Students are having a mixed reaction with some saying they understand that the school board is trying to better cater to their needs while others see it as a waste of time.

"It shouldn't matter what our parents did or how we feel about ourselves," said student Josee Ouellette. "They should just accept everyone for who they are."

Besides the slew of personal questions, the survey also features an extensive section on bullying to determine how many students are dealing with this problem.

"We want every student in our community to feel a sense of belonging in our schools and we know from what's been reported in the press recently that certain students don't feel safe," said Hammond.

Students in Grades 7 to 12 will be given the survey between Nov. 22 and Dec. 10, with parents being asked to fill it out if their kids are in junior kindergarten to Grade 6.

Parents who don't want their children to participate must let the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board know in writing by Nov. 19.