Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 YRBS Survey For High School Students Grades 9-12

The Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force in cooperation with Burlington School Department and the Burlington Community Life Center will conduct the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 on Monday, May 19, 2014.  This is the second round of the administration of this survey (the first was in 2012).  The survey will be administered in homerooms during an activity period that will last approximately 45 minutes. Through this survey, health risk behaviors can be monitored that will assist in the planning of prevention strategies and a health curriculum that will reduce behaviors that present the greatest risk.  It is anticipated that results of the survey will be made available to the public in the Spring of 2015.   

What is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey?  The YRBS was developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with other federal agencies and state departments of education. The survey is designed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all participating students while measuring the level of certain risky behaviors.  The YRBS has been administered to a statewide sample of Massachusetts high school students on a biannual basis since 1990.  

What is the Topic of the Survey?  The YRBS focuses on priority health-risk behaviors. These include: (1) behaviors that result in unintentional and intentional injuries; (2) tobacco use; (3) alcohol and other drug use; (4) sexual behaviors that result in sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies; (5) dietary behaviors; and (6) physical activity.

How Can YRBS Results Be Used?  Students participating in the YRBS respond to questions measuring actual health-risk behaviors, not simply attitudes or beliefs. For example, while it is commonly known by youth that use of seat belts saves lives, over one-in-nine students (12%) indicated that they do not wear a seat belt at all times.  This demonstrates the need to measure actual health-risk behaviors.  Information learned from the YRBS can help the Burlington Public Schools develop and implement programs to support youth and meet the challenges that affect their futures. Tomorrow’s healthy outcomes are the result of today’s healthy choices.

How Accurate are the Results?  The YRBS has been extensively field-tested, and is determined to be valid and reliable.  Research indicates that students answer the questions on anonymous surveys truthfully and that data of this nature can be gathered as reliably from adolescents as from adults.

The Survey is Entirely Anonymous.  Students will not put their names or any other identifying information on the survey.   All results from the survey will be presented only in group summary form.   Additionally, your child’s participation in the survey is completely voluntary.  Students may to choose to opt out of the survey or skip any questions that they do not feel comfortable answering

You may Decline to have your Child Participate. A copy of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is available in the main office of the Burlington High School for parents to review.  If you choose to not allow participation, your son or daughter will participate in some other alternative activity while the survey is being administered. Parents/Guardians who do not want their child to take the survey should let me know by phone or in writing. Parents do not have to do anything unless they do not want their child to participate.

What if I have Questions?  You are welcome to contact me at the high school or Christine Shruhan, LICSW at the Burlington Community Life Center with any questions about the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  She can be reached by phone at 781-270-1961 or by email at cshruhan@burlington.org.

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