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Youth Risk Behavior Survey results: What you need to know

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a sobering reminder that our children are more than just students—they are people in society facing many of the same challenges that adults face. The YRBS is a survey given to middle and high school students every other year, intended to measure some of the challenges students face.  In April, the results of the 2015 YRBS were released. We have taken the time to analyze those results, and here are some of the highlights:

Middle School Results

  • Nearly one-third (32.4 percent) of middle schoolers surveyed have carried a weapon to school.

  • Almost half (46.2 percent) of the middle school students said they had been bullied at school.

  • Just over a quarter (27 percent) of middle school students have seriously contemplated suicide.

  • Of the students who reported ever having sex, almost two-thirds (62 percent) reported using a condom the last time they had sex.

  • 30 percent of middle school students who took the survey had used alcohol in their lifetime.

High School Results

  • Approximately one in four high school students (25.3 percent) rode in the car with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

  • Of the students who were sexually active, one in five (20.2 percent) students drank alcohol or used drugs before sexual intercourse the last time they had sex.

  • Many of the students (42.8 percent) were trying to lose weight.

  • Over half (54.4 percent) of the high school students surveyed had used alcohol in their lifetime.

These statistics highlight the importance of programs like Full Service Schools, which provide “a critical range of therapeutic, health, and social services and address non-academic barriers to success in school.” These same barriers are present inside and outside of the walls of schools, and that is what it means to cater to the “whole child.” The adult community (not just the education community) has to work collectively with students to identify and make adjustments that will promote positive mental health and behaviors that will reduce the distractions these students face that can hinder their academic success. To view more results from the 2015 YRBS, click here.