The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 2, 2001


Carlisle School to take part in youth risk behavior survey

A modified version of a national youth risk behavior survey will be given to students in the sixth and eighth grades at the Carlisle School. After some discussion, Carlisle School Committee (CSC) members decided 4 to 1 that the modifications made by the school administration rendered the survey acceptable for sixth-graders. Cindy Nock was opposed.

Concerns about the nature of some of the question and answer choices on the survey had been raised by CSC members at their January 9 meeting when information about the proposed survey was first presented. Because of the ages of the students, they felt that the questions about dating and sex were inappropriate and they objected to some other details as well. At the January 23 meeting they reviewed the survey with the offending questions removed.

Assistant principal Terry Farwell later explained the driving force behind the survey. Carlisle receives two grants each year, totaling $20,000, that help pay for the school health program including materials, speakers and training for courses such as CPR and the fifth-grade Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. The grants come from the state department of education (DOE) and from the federal government. Although the grants are non-competitive, the DOE recommends the survey as a way to acquire the data needed to support the goals of the health program and qualify for the grant.

The survey is done at the national level every year to collect and compare information from many communities. Farwell noted that the modifications to the survey would make it less useful at the national level, but for Carlisle's purposes would provide information needed locally to identify areas of concern. She had also been assured by those holding the purse-strings that the modified survey would still qualify Carlisle for the grant money. The original survey was distributed to area towns by Emerson Hospital, Farwell said. Concord is also participating.

The survey itself contains 54 multiple-choice questions on health and safety issues ranging from exercise and seatbelt use to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. The survey is completely anonymous and answering the questions is voluntary.

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito