The North Texas Food Bank sent a survey home with students at four Dallas ISD schools that had some parents concerned about the questions.
The survey had standard questions about food bank participation and healthy food options. Then, the questionnaire veered into politics with questions about President Donald Trump, immigration, and the 2016 election.
The questionnaire that Edwin Espinoza's son brought home from Sam Houston Elementary School is from the North Texas Food Bank. But many of the questions had nothing to do with food.
“My wife started looking at it. She doesn't speak English. She started filling out the Spanish version,” Espinoza recalled. “She started asking me, ‘Why are they asking whether we voted for Donald Trump or not?’ I'm like what? Wait a minute. Let me read this."
There were six probing questions, some with multiple parts, that had to do with politics.
One question asked, “Did you vote in November of 2016 United States presidential election? If you voted, which candidate did you vote for: Donald Trump or other?"
Another question asked, “Please rate Donald Trump's performance as president of the United States."
Most of Question 12 of the survey focuses on immigration reform, DACA, and whether the participant would be concerned about ice raids on churches, schools and food pantries.
A representative with the North Texas Food Bank declined to talk on camera but said the agency now regrets including the questions about politics. The food bank shared a letter it sent to the principals of four schools where the questionnaire was handed out to students and apologized to those offended and confused.
"The food bank is a non-profit organization and as such must maintain neutrality on political issues,” they said. “Because of this oversight, the research team will not use or publish any of the questions that are in political nature from the survey."
"The majority of these immigrants, they'll fill it out because it comes from the school and it says there in Spanish they'll qualify for a raffle, in the Spanish version, if you fill the whole thing out,” Espinoza said. “And I'm not sure if my son misunderstood, but he said he was told that he wouldn't have recess unless he filled this out.”