A national report says one in four North Dakota high school students report being bullied electronically or physically.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey biannual report polls middle and high school student participation in activities like bullying, smoking or drinking and driving.
Suicide attempts and bullying are actually higher than the national average, which is a shock to some.
“It does and it doesn’t. Think as we’ve seen technology with social media and text messaging, we’ve seen conflict between kids certainly increase. I guess I was disappointed to see the numbers as high as they were,” says David Wisthoff the assistant principal of BHS.
“Whether it’s in the schools, family, the community, we all need to pitch in and make sure that we help our kids out, as they’re learning these social emotional skills,” says Gail Schauer of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
But this isn’t all bad news. Officials at DPI says by having these statistics in plain view, schools can work out ways to help students.
“I feel BHS is working very hard to keep those numbers down and making everyone feel very safe and welcome,” says student Bailey White.
White is part of an organization called Sources of Strength at Bismarck High School. It was recently created to combat the effects of bullying.
“With sources of strength there is-they did a very, very good job including someone from absolutely every social group, that’s able to kind of help everyone reach out more,” she says.
Along with that positive organization, administrators are stressing communication with students.
“Family and school connectness are encouraged. When I say connectness I mean there’s an adult that cares about the child and is asking the child questions. Finding out about their day, finding out about their life and what’s going on in it,” says Schauer.
Schauer says that by talking to students someone can catch the signs of distress from bullying early and get help.
Other positive finding from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is that the percentage of students smoking cigarettes and marijuana as well as getting in cars with drunk drivers has decreased significantly.
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