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Survey: County Youth More Likely to Use Alcohol, Be Bullied Than State Average

A new Maryland survey says Anne Arundel County's youth are more likely to have been the victims of bullying, forced to have sex, and considered committing suicide than the state's students overall.

A new Maryland survey says Anne Arundel County's youth are more likely to have been the victims of bullying, forced to have sex, and considered committing suicide than the state's students overall. File|Patch
A new Maryland survey says Anne Arundel County's youth are more likely to have been the victims of bullying, forced to have sex, and considered committing suicide than the state's students overall. File|Patch
From a news release:

Students in Anne Arundel County are more likely to use alcohol and tobacco than their peers across Maryland, according to the most recent survey of the state's youth.

Other findings show that the county's youth are more likely to have been the victims of bullying, forced to have sex, and considered committing suicide than the state's students overall.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health and Anne Arundel County Public Schools are reviewing the results of the recently released Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey as the two entities continue to discuss programs and initiatives for the upcoming school year.

The 2013 survey is based on the national school survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it analyzes self-reported health-risk behaviors that contribute to the morbidity and mortality of young adults.

The survey looks at tobacco use, alcohol and illicit drug use, injuries and violence, sexual behaviors, dietary behaviors and physical inactivity.

In Anne Arundel County, the rates for student tobacco and alcohol use exceed those of the state; however since 2000, the county has seen a steady decline of high school students smoking cigarettes.

County rates for students who have experienced school and cyberbullying; been physically hurt or forced to have sex; and who have seriously considered suicide are also higher than the state.

The rates of county students who ate fruits and vegetables five or more times daily and who attended physical education classes exceeded those of most other Maryland counties.

“The survey provides a clearer vision of today’s youth—their perceptions and their challenges,” said Acting Anne Arundel County Health Officer Jinlene Chan, M.D., M.P.H. “Open communication about health and educational resources and community support are key in order to help our young people become healthy adults—physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Interim Superintendent Mamie J. Perkins said, “We are very fortunate to have the partnership of the Department of Health in so many aspects of our school operations. The relationship we have developed is far more than just one in which we share information. Rather, it is one in which we are proactive about putting programs in place that increase awareness, foster good decision-making skills, and decrease health risks for our students.”

School counselors, psychologists, social workers and pupil personnel workers continue to collaborate with the Department of Health to support students as they combat issues such as substance abuse and cyberbullying, as well as assist those students impacted by suicide or other tragic circumstances.

For more information about the YRBS and the Department of Health’s programs for youth, visit www.aahealth.org. For information about the Public Schools’ initiatives, visit www.aacps.org
Steve D June 13, 2014 at 09:27 AM
The bullying was so bad, the school's response so lacking, this is exactly why we moved out of county.
Richard Rice June 13, 2014 at 11:08 AM
There is probably bullying in Montgomery County also. Going to Special Ed years ago there was some physical bullying as well as emotional!!

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