Worthington News

Survey: Students say they generally feel safe, but bullying is an issue


Most students might feel safe and confident at school, but drug abuse and bullying could be problems at some Worthington schools, according to a survey of students, staff members and parents.

The culture and climate survey was completed last spring by nearly 5,000 students in grades 3-12, 406 teachers and support staff and 1,065 parents. Participation was voluntary.

Elementary school students reported a high level of trust and pride in their schools and teachers, but 54 percent said they have been bullied by other students. Only 17 percent admitted to ever being a bully.

Ninety-four percent said they trust their teachers, but only 77 percent said they enjoy coming to school.

Ninety-seven percent said they know they could get good grades, and 90 percent reported being good readers and good in math.

More than 90 percent said their parents make them follow rules at home and help with homework, but only 61 percent said their parents visit their schools.

The majority of the secondary students taking the survey -- 73 percent -- were in grades 7-9.

Seventy-six percent agreed or strongly agreed that they felt safe at school, but only 67 percent said they feel part of their school.

Parents and teachers have high academic expectations for students, but other students do not, according to the survey.

Forty-five percent said students respect others who get good grades, and 37 percent said students try hard to improve their school work.

Secondary school students experience relatively more stress over social and family situations than school-related situations, according to a summary of results presented by Jeffrey Maddox, director of innovation and school support. Maddox shared the summary during the Nov. 13 Worthington Board of Education meeting.

He said 87 percent of the teachers and support staff said they get a lot of satisfaction from work at their schools, but only 50 percent agreed or strongly agreed that staff morale was high.

Sixty- two percent said their school does not have a substance-abuse problem, and 65 percent said bullying problems are handled effectively.

Parent respondents said their child's school is a safe place to learn (85 percent) and the school is a friendly environment for students, parents and families (82 percent).

Forty-nine percent said their school does not have a substance-abuse problem, and 46 percent said bullying problems are handled effectively.

"Bullying and substance abuse are on some campuses," Maddox said.

Survey results from each school are on their individual school's website, he said.

He also briefly described some of the efforts to address bullying and substance abuse.

One Leg at a Time is a student organization that makes presentations to each school about bullying and how to be part of the effort to stop bullying.

Drug Safe Worthington, a community-based organization that addresses substance-abuse issues, recently completed a multifaceted campaign, much of which was held in the schools, he said.

The schools also have a full-time culture and climate coordinator, and counselors are available in the schools and at an area mental health center.

New this year are two social workers who work with counselors, students and families. One is assigned to schools west of the Olentangy River, with the other assigned to those east of the river.