Survey shows drop in risky behavior

BOCES representative Nancy Jones told Mohanasen school board members Monday, Feb. 9, that a survey administered to sixth-through-12th-graders in the fall showed significant decreases when it comes to those students partaking in risky behavior.

We feel like we are doing some of those things right, but I think part of that improve-ment needs to be continuing to educate some of the students about some of the risks and the dangers that are out there, said Chris Ruberti, academic administrator for counseling at Mohonasen Central School District.

The survey is designed to assess the factors that predict adolescent problem behaviors, such as underage drinking, substance abuse and getting into fights. Jones, a school improvement and systems analyst at Capital Region BOCES, said that the surveys provide a measurement of what the students are saying is happening in their environment.

Jones called the new results "actually quite exciting."

She said the "risk protection factors" are indicators of how students will behave.

"If, for instance, you have high risk factors in your community and low protective factors, it's more likely kids will be involved in antisocial activities like fights and crime," said Jones.

Although the overall results seemed to indicate a positive trend of students moving away from destructive behaviors, some school officials indicated there is still work to be done.

Alcohol consumption and the use of tobacco and inhalants among eighth-graders over a 30-day period dropped significantly since the survey was taken in 2002 to this past fall, however, those behaviors have not stopped all together. While officials are pleased that there has been a drop, they still feel that there is room for improvement.

"As somebody who works with kids, to see some of the activities that are taking place You can't help but be concerned even though you know it's across the state and the country and not us specifically," said Ruberti.

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