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Student survey reveals frightening statistics

Data shows high numbers of Estacada students have considered suicide


In a survey, about one in five Estacada eighth- and 11th-graders reported seriously considering an attempt on their own lives.

Those numbers are emerging from the 2014 Oregon Student Wellness Survey of the Estacada School District.

Director of Student Services Tina Rhue had other startling statistics to report from the survey, especially on responses geared toward gauging depression among students.

Nearly one in 11 eighth- and 11th-graders reported actually having attempted suicide.

When asked if they had felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row and stopped doing usual activities, 10.3 percent of Estacada sixth-graders, 26.1 percent of Estacada eighth-graders and 33 percent of Estacada 11th-graders said they had.

“Just a warning, it kind of seems like it’s a negative bias,” Rhue said before giving a presentation on the survey results during the school board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 11. “It’s trying to get data on items that are negatively influencing our students. It’s not asking about hobbies and friends and sleep overs and things like that.”

Rhue explained that across the state sixth-, eighth- and 11th-graders take the Oregon Student Wellness Survey every two years.

Rhue said the survey data did not receive much attention in the district until Marla Stephenson was hired as superintendent.

Stephenson became Estacada School District Superintendent July 1, following the retirement of longtime Superintendent Howard Fetz.

“When Marla arrived, everything changed,” Rhue said. “As I mentioned, this survey was taken in January 2014, nobody really looked at it. Marla came in in July 2014 and took a look at the data and said ‘Oh my, what are we going to do about this data?’”

Since Stephenson’s arrival, Rhue said the Wellness Survey results were analyzed at the district cabinet level, included in the district’s strategic planning process and led to the updating of the district wellness policy.

Rhue said the policy had previously focused mainly on nutrition, but was expanded to put more emphasis on physical fitness and mental health services.

The district also formed a wellness committee made up of counselors, principals, a school psychologist, a school nurse, Stephenson and community and mental health agencies.

The Wellness Committee will utilize data from the survey and an upcoming district survey on the prevalence of bullying to focus on nutrition, physical fitness and mental health in the schools.

Other results of note from the 2014 Oregon Student Wellness Survey for the Estacada School District include:

  • Estacada eighth-graders reported experiencing harassment in the last 30 days at a higher rate than the state average, at 53 percent for Estacada eighth-graders and 49.1 percent for the state average. More Estacada 11th-graders reported being harassed in the last 30 days than the state average with 45. 6 percent saying they had been harassed as opposed to the state average of 39.5 percent.
  • Estacada sixth-graders reported experiencing harassment in the last 30 days at a lower rate than the state average of 46.1 percent, with 35.7 percent of Estacada sixth-graders reporting being harassed in the last month.
  • Approximately one in five Estacada sixth-graders said they had been in a physical fight on school property. The percentage was roughly 8 percent higher than the state average. Results indicated that 27.2 percent of Estacada sixth-graders had been in a physical fight, but not necessarily on school property.
  • Roughly 1-in-10 Estacada eighth-graders said they were in a fight on school property, while 21.7 percent said they had been in a physical fight, though not necessarily on school property.
  • The number of students reporting having been in physical fights dropped in the results reported by Estacada 11th-graders with 4.4 percent saying they had been in a physical fight on school property and 15.8 percent reporting physical fights not necessarily on school property.
  • More than 90 percent of Estacada sixth-graders said they considered themselves in good to excellent physical, emotional and mental health.
  • While most Estacada eight-graders reported being in good to excellent physical health, nearly one in eight eight-graders did not consider themselves in good to excellent emotional and mental health.
  • About one in five Estacada 11th-graders claimed to not be in good to excellent physical health and nearly one in four did not consider themselves in good to excellent emotional and mental health.
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