Middle school students feel safe and welcome at their school

Students spend a large portion of their waking hours in school, so it is imperative that teachers and administrators create a positive learning environment in which students can thrive.  Students are more likely to be academically successful if they establish constructive relationships, are attached to school, and when behavioral risks, such as substance abuse, are minimized. 

safe at middle school statisticSurveying students about their perceptions of school climate and tracking such data is one tool for communities, school boards, and administrators to plan and assess their efforts to support learning and youth. 

Students who feel unsafe, harassed, or otherwise victimized are more likely to skip school, feel depressed, and are at higher risk of becoming involved in problem behaviors. In Central Oregon, 8 percent of middle school students said they skipped school one or more times in the last 30 days because they felt unsafe at school or on the way to or from school. Positive behavior support, comprehensive discipline, and anti-bullying programs have been shown to reduce the incidence of harassment.

Learning environments which students feel are safe, caring, and highly participatory enhance students’ social competence while increasing attachment to school.  Central Oregon has an opportunity to create and reinforce safe and supportive learning environments.  Only 69 percent of middle school students say that “most students at my school help each other when they are hurt or upset.”  A greater portion of students, 82 percent, feel that teachers treat students with respect in their school.  Combined, these data speak to whether students feel they belong, are physically and emotionally safe and valued at school.

Data Source: Oregon Health Authority, Addictions and Mental Health Division. “Oregon Student Wellness Survey 2014.” 

*These data do not include Culver School District. 6th and 8th grade student responses combined.