THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – FRiDAy, MAy 19, 2023 Page 3 Half of all Everett students don’t feel safe at school, according to survey S By Tara Vocino chool Committee members were off ered an eye-opening report that half of Everett students surveyed do not feel safe according to a survey presented during Monday’s School Committee meeting at Everett High School. EPS Health and Wellness Coordinator Julie Ann Whitson and Senior Project Manager Alec McKinney, of John Snow Inc., a public health consulting fi rm that has been doing youth risk surveys for 20 years, presented the survey results. Approximately 50 percent of students reported that they don’t feel safe, with gender minority and sexual minority, including transgender, homosexual, and lesbian numbers higher. During a slideshow presentation, McKinney said rates are low of students carrying a knife or weapon with a slight uptick in gender and sexual minority cases. McKinney said physical fi ghts were most common among middle school boys, with a 40 percent increase since 2015. Multi-racial students also tend to be in more fi ghts, according to McKinney. School Committee member At-Large Cynthia Sarnie asked Whitson and McKinney with the data presented, what they can do to help children. Whitson said coming out of the pandemic is diffi cult for everyone; however, the administration budgeted for increased socioeconomic support, which includes counselors. Continuing to support gender and sexual minority students is key, according to Whitson. She worked at Cambridge Health Alliance in 2002, when they implemented the fi rst survey, and she has appreciated the progress made since then. Sarnie said there is a lot of bullying and drugs going on in the district. She asked how they discuss accepting everyone for who they are. Whitson said pre-COVID-19 they had a lot more assemblies. Sarnie asked regarding drugs/alcohol, have they ever had people from jail come in for an assembly. Whitson said every year they have staff speak to the freshmen. Deb Fallon from Portal to Hope is speaking this week. School Committee Vice Chair Michael McLaughlin said several slides have been eye opening to him as a School Committee member. He asked which middle school students are from. McKinney said middle school students responded with a 91 percent response rate; he thinks he can get a breakdown by school for McLaughlin. Approximately 77 percent of high school students responded to the survey. McLaughlin said he’d like to see this go to a committee to discuss these slides more in depth. He made a motion to send it into committee. “It’s eye opening how many children don’t feel safe,” McLaughlin said. “I wonder why they don’t feel safe — what can we do to help make them feel more safe?” McKinney noted that they didn’t ask why in the survey, but they did ask students if they feel unsafe at school and while traveling to- and fromschool. They didn’t tag students by zip code. SAFE | SEE PAGE 5 www.eight10barandgrille.com OPEN DAILY FOR DINNER AT 4 PM. CATCH THE CELTICS, BRUINS & NCAA SPORTS ON OUR 6 LARGE SCREEN TV'S! om WE'RE OPEN! 8 Norwood Street, Everett (617) 387-9810

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