Park City schools release survey results | ParkRecord.com

Park City schools release survey results

Douglas Greenwood, of the Record Staff

The Park City School District Board of Education recently received the results of the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey. The findings will help the district meet Title IV Safe and Drug Free Schools requirements as part of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The study was conducted state-wide and districts throughout Utah will be using the findings to apply for grants and establish programs that will address areas of concern.

Surveyors selected a sample group that represented the district demographics. Inconsistent responses were eliminated from the results to ensure accuracy, said David Dunn of Bach-Harrison LLC, the company that conducted the survey. Dunn reported the findings to the school board Oct. 26.

The school board voted unanimously to release the information to the public, expecting to bolster community and parent involvement, according to Board of Education President Kim Carson.

"It was a given that we would make that public," Carson said. "We feel like that is important information for our parents and our community to have."

The study assesses a student’s environment at home and at school, influences from depression or bullying and their use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

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With the promise of anonymity, 860 sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th-grade students in the Park City School District answered personal questions about their health and safety in early 2009.

Of the 217 seniors questioned, 83 percent of students said they have had more than just a few sips of alcohol and 60 percent said they drank within the last 30 days; about 41 percent said they have smoked cigarettes; 52 percent claimed they have smoked marijuana and about 15 percent said they have used narcotic prescription drugs without consent from a doctor.

Among 110 sophomores, 62 percent reported they have drunk alcohol and 40 percent in the last 30 days; 20 percent said they have smoked cigarettes and 23 percent reported they have smoked marijuana. About 32 percent of the 241 eighth-graders polled said they have drunk alcohol.

Compared to 2007 results, alcohol, cigarette and marijuana use dropped in all four grades. The use of narcotic prescription drugs only went up among sixth grade students, but went down among the other grades polled.

While high school administrators have and use two breathalyzer devices, about 22 percent of seniors said they have been drunk or high while at school, compared to about 11 percent of sophomores.

According to the survey, most students across the grades report getting their alcohol at parties. Most drink at someone else’s home without their parents’ permission.

According to the study, bullying reaches a peak in eighth grade and the average in Park City was lower in most classes than the state average.

Park City School District administrators teamed up with Valley Mental Health to create the Park City Prevention Awareness Coalition, which will use information from the survey to provide grants that focus on curbing underage drinking and alcohol related vehicle crashes.

Prevention programs will be catered to the specific needs of schools and students, according to Samantha Walsh at Park City High School. Walsh said that because many incidents to which the students were referring happened outside of school, the counseling office is reaching out to parents and family to become more involved.

"We are getting community and student feedback," she said.

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