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Survey: Students happier this year, but feel less safe
high school students
The 2022 California School Climate, Health and Learning Survey questioned students in 7th, 9th and 11th grades about school connectedness, parental involvement, perceived school safety, bullying, substance abuse and social and emotional health.

Results of a recent study found that Turlock teens felt safer in school this year, however, some are experimenting with substances at a higher rate.

Turlock Unified School District released information regarding the 2022 California School Climate, Health and Learning Survey. The survey questioned students in 7th, 9th and 11th grades. It also included non-traditional students from eCademy Charter and Roselawn High. The first set of questions had to do with school connectedness and found that 7th, 9th and 11th graders felt less connected to their schools than last year. The biggest drop off came from 11th graders with 45 percent feeling connected to their school compared to 57 percent last year. Non-traditional students saw school connectedness increase from 59 percent to 61.

The traditional grades saw the percentage of students having caring adult relationships at school decrease as well. The survey found 7th graders (58 percent) and 9th graders (53 percent) had a two percent decrease while 11th graders (54 percent) had a four percent decrease. Non-traditional students had an increase in caring adult relationships of five percent to 64 percent.  

The level of parental involvement decreased for 9th, 11th and non-traditional students. The biggest decrease came from 9th graders, from 46 percent last year to 38 percent this year. There was a slight increase with 7th graders from 53 percent to 55 percent.

The next set of questions had to do with perceived school safety. All students said that they feel less safe than they did last year. While 7th graders and non-traditional students' decrease was more modest, traditional high schools saw a starker drop. Forty-two percent of 9th graders felt safe compared to 71 last year and 39 percent of 11th graders felt safe compared to 62 percent last year.

There wasn’t any data regarding harassment and bullying from non-traditional students last year and 8 percent reported experiencing these issues this year. The statistics were the same for 11th graders at 26 percent, and increased for 7th graders (32 percent) and 11th graders (28 percent).

The next set of questions had to do with substance use, and while 7th graders experienced a modest decrease in alcohol or drug use, 11th graders and non-traditional students saw a modest increase. Ninth graders remained the same at 9 percent.

Ninth graders (5 percent) and non-traditional students (24 percent) saw a slight increase in marijuana use, while it was down for 11th graders by 1 percent and remained the same for 7th graders. While 7th graders remained the same for vaping at 2 percent, it was up for all the other students. The biggest coming from non-traditional students at 24 percent this year compared to 11 percent last year.

The final set of questions had to do with social and emotional health, and all students reported feeling less sad and hopeless than last year. The biggest decrease was from 11th graders from 41 percent this year compared to 51 percent last year, and non-traditional students with 47 percent compared to 64 percent last year.

The same number of 9th graders considered suicide as last year at 18 percent, while it decreased with everyone else. The largest difference was from non-traditional students with 17 percent compared to 21 percent last year.