Census Worker Targets Teenager

It started with a knock at the door, only April Stark says she never knew it.
She was in the lower level of her house and says she came upstairs to find her son Zach talking to a stranger... who was asking about their family.
Zach says the U.S. Census worker asked if he could come inside which was a little unnerving.
Zach says, "I didn't want to let him in my house ever since my brother's ipod was stolen by a guy that came to work for awhile in our house."
Zach says he also was uncomfortable because he didn't know the answers to all of the questions.
Zach says, "yeah... some of them I had no clue."
The Starks don't understand why the worker talked to Zach when he knew that April was home, too.
Zach says, "When I turned to go find my mom... he said, anyone 15 years and older can answer these questions so you can just stay here and answer them."
April says, "He informed me that he was doing nothing wrong and that he was legally allowed by the Census Bureau to ask anyone over 15 these questions."
April says she later called the local Census office and workers were sympathetic, but said the rules are the rules. Anyone 15 and older is considered qualified to answer questions of the household.
Deb Muehleisen, a partnership specialist with the Denver Regional Census Center says the census taker made some mistakes.
Deb says, "I would have felt the same way to find a stranger sitting in my living room with my child there so that was inappropriate of that census taker to ask to come inside."
Muehleisen says the policy of questioning teens was decided by Census officials in Washington.
She adds, "I can share that concern with our team. As a matter of fact, I'm having a regional meeting on Monday and I'm happy to share that concern."
April says she's making a point to tell friends and family about what happened...hoping the word will get back to Uncle Sam so ten years from now... young teens can't be targeted just adults.
We're told the last day for census takers to be going door to door is July 10th.
Officials say the local office has completed about 50% of its work.

Editor's Note: Many are asking why April Stark did not fill out a census form. She filled one out and mailed it in, but chose not to answer every question. That's why a census worker was sent to her house.

She believes some of the questions are private and that Uncle Sam doesn't need to know. She believes the key questions are: why did the worker enter her home and why did he interview her son, when he knew she was at home.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Pamela Location: Michigan on Jul 8, 2010 at 05:11 PM
    Everyone talks about the dangers of internet predators and the dangers of facebook. Here is a person standing at the door of your home asking what half of you consider impersonal, non-threatening questions. Well from what they asked my daughter they now know that I am a single mom, who works during the day, who has two daughters home alone. Not exactly the information I like to give strangers who happen to pull up as my daughter is getting out of a car in her own driveway. And I should feel better because the person "SAID" they were a Census worker and provided a "badge"? I would like one of you to describe what exactly that badge looks like. Then ask your child to describe it. Anyone get it right? I doubt it! Wake up people, we do not live in Shangri La. This is a very legitimate concern.
  • by Pamela Location: Michigan on Jul 8, 2010 at 05:03 PM
    I filled out my census and returned it the day it came. Today a person claiming to be a census worker questioned my 15 year old daughter as she was getting dropped off. She was intimadated by the badge and answererd the workers questions. I am furious that the US Census has decided on their own that 15 year olds are adults and held responsible for answering their questions. I do not remember ever voting on 15 year old being deemed adults. If the Census feels this appropriate procedure then they should be held reponsible for going into our schools and educating our CHILDREN on how to identify a legitimate census worker from a fraudulant one. Anyone can make a badge and carry a black tote-bag (the answer the supervisor told me would determine a "real" census worker). I am disgusted that you would all put the blame on a mother who is concerned for her children's safety in a world that proves child predators are everywhere. What makes Census workers above this fact!
  • by Angel Location: @ME on Jun 27, 2010 at 05:41 PM
    You obviously don't know your Constitution. It is for numbers only to know where to draw the district lines for your representative. Hmmm...it doesn't have anything to do with taxes. So, before you comment on something you don't know as FACT instead of OPINION and FEELINGS really know what you're talking about! Again, the CENSUS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TAXES!
  • by Dee Location: Washington, DC on Jun 14, 2010 at 05:55 PM
    As I approached my house this evening, I observed a man leaving my front porch, getting into his car and pulling off. My 14-year old son was sitting on the porch, and when I asked him who the man was, he replied "someone from the Census". He told me the man asked personal questions about my house hold, which I understand should not be asked of a minor under the age of 15. I was very upset and contacted the department. After speaking with 2 supervisors, the last one stated "your son must have looked older". But my son said that during the questioning, the man asked the ages of everyone in the home, including himself. I would like to pursue this as a legal matter, and would like more information as to whom I may get in contact with. This is a violation of my child's rights and total disregard of the Census' rules and regulations.
  • by ME Location: Colorado on Jun 11, 2010 at 10:01 PM
    I agree with Edie...a 15yr old should be able to answer these easy questions & none of them are personal enough to refuse. Angel, Ms Constitutional rights, do you even know what the census is for? Its to get an accurate count of the # of ppl in each area to help w/city funding & such. Telling them you have 4 ppl in your home will help but they also need to know sex, age & race to know whether that funding needs to go towards school or roads or whatever. You dont wanna fund only schools & parks where few kids reside. Like it or not, sewer pipes need to be upgraded in area w/ mostly hispanics(b4 u complain, its fact, look it up) & someone needs to count the boarder jumpers to know exactly how many of them currently reside in the US. They also ask if anyone lives part time elsewhere so ppl arent dbl counted & no one is missed. Without these questions answered, this world would be a tough place to live. BUT the census workers are not suppose to go inside, let alone ask to be let in!
  • by Just Saying Location: c.s. on Jun 9, 2010 at 01:04 PM
    In this day of crazies, even my 16 yr old isn't allowed to answer the door unless it's someone he knows. Otherwise it is me or they keep the doors locked and don't open it. If we are teaching a kid it's fine to let anyone who CLAIMS they are from the Census to just waltz in, we are inviting assault and thefts to wear a Census hat. I sent mine in and they said it may not have made cutoff because of the back up there so they came by my house. I actually invited them in and they said they really weren't supposed to come into houses (I applaud them for bein cautious themselves!) and we stood on my front patio to do the survey. It was no big deal. But to me, if someone had pressured my child into letting them come in AND (this is the part that really upsets me) telling the kid NOT to get his mom, they'd be getting an earful from me as well.
  • by Mary Location: colorado springs on Jun 8, 2010 at 02:16 PM
    I fully understand the worry of the mother. There is no reason an adult should be disscouraging a child who is uncomfortable from getting their parent! That throws red flags everywhere especially theses days and all the weirdos out there. And how can they make it legal for a 15 year old to answer questions when by law a person must be 18 years of age to enter any legal information in any circumstance unless approved by a legal guardian. If we are legally required to do this than that leaves out the kids answering questions!
  • by Ryan on Jun 6, 2010 at 12:33 PM
    @Angel: I completely agree.
  • by AJ Location: COS on Jun 4, 2010 at 07:05 PM
    If Barry isn't out to destroy the world the oil spill is proof he isn't out to save it. Pay attention to those conspiracy theories. They probably are the truth. Bilderberg is in charge of everything. Barry is here to make sure they get what they want. Our troops are fighting for Bilderberg, not freedom. Bilderberg is a sad thing to die for but as long as people enjoy those hero stories it's not going to end.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 4, 2010 at 06:33 PM
    Hey Chris, it doesn't matter who is in office. McCain said he could find Osama Bin Laden if he were elected. They are all crooks. By the way, don't ask McCain why our government abandoned POWs in Viet Nam. Answer: Because our government didn't come through with the $$$$ that was part of the deal. People who have nothing to hide from the census bureau (this year under Rahm Emanuel) are the same people who have no problem being fingerprinted so they can enter Disneyworld.
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