School district receives youth risk behavior survey results
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction has released a statement on our most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Schools complete this survey every other year. The most recent results are from this school year. Our high school students (9-12) took the survey this past fall and we recently received our results. The survey compares our school data to all other students in the state. This year approximately 10,000 students took the survey. The last time our school district surveyed our entire high school was during the 2009 school year. When I compared the 2017 YRBS to the 2009 YRBS positive results emerged, along with a few concerning areas.
Our students reported less school violence. For example in 2009, 9 percent of students said they carried a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey. In 2017, we received Insufficient Cell Size (ICS) which means there were less than three students that reported that they carried a weapon. Students reported a decrease in physical violence on school property. In 2009, 8.1 percent of our students were involved in a physical altercation at school. In 2017, 4.2 percent of our students reported they were involved in a physical altercation at school.
Tobacco use has declined in our schools. In 2009, 9.1 percent of our students reported using tobacco before the age of 13. In 2017, 8 percent of our students reported using tobacco before age 13. Students who smoked cigarettes regularly have decreased from 12.7 percent in 2009 to 11.1 percent in 2017. Students who use chewing tobacco have decreased from 15.4 percent in 2009 to 5.1 percent in 2017. Students report an increase in use of e-cigarettes. In 2009, 22 percent of our students had used e-cigarette products compared to 22.2 percent in 2017.
Our students report less alcohol use. In 2009, 76.5 percent of our students had at least one drink of alcohol at least 1 day during their life compared to 65.5 percent in 2017. Binge drinking has decreased since 2009. In 2017, 12.2 percent of students had five or more drinks in a span of a couple hours compared to 33.3 percent in 2009. It appears that students are getting less alcohol from those that are of legal age. In 2009, 31.4 percent of students reported that they received alcohol from an individual of legal age compared to 21.4 percent in 2017.
Students appear to be engaging in less sexual behavior when we compare our recent results to 2009. The percentage of students that have had sexual intercourse has decreased from 34 percent to 26.2 percent. The percentage of students that consider themselves sexual active has decreased from 27.6 percent to 20.6 percent. The percentage of students who use birth control has increased from 25 percent to 27.3 percent.
Drug use appears to be stagnant. Marijuana use has increased slightly from 2009 to 4.2 percent in 2017. Prescription drug abuse has decreased from 10.6 percent in 2009 to 8.5 percent in 2017.
Students reported an increase in bullying and cyber bulling. In 2009, 19.5 percent of students reported bullying on school property compared to 22.9 percent in 2017. Electronic bullying increased from 4.9 percent in 2009 to 16.2 percent in 2017.
Students have reported an increase in depression and suicide ideation. In 2009, 17.7 percent of students reported that they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 or more weeks in a row compared to 33.1 percent in 2017. In 2009, 9.8 percent of students reported that they have seriously considered suicide compared to 15.3 percent in 2017. In 2009, 7.3 percent of students reported that they had made a plan about how they would attempt suicide compared to 11 percent in 2017.
Overall, I am happy to see that alcohol, tobacco, sexual behavior, and drug use have declined, but I am concerned of the reported increase in bullying, depression, and suicide ideation. I hope that these findings will generate a conversation within your own home and within our community. Schools are reflections of the community in which they serve.
– Submitted by Rugby Public Schools Superintendent Mike McNeff
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