Board OKs student drug, sex survey

By Marlena Hartz : CNJ staff writer

The Clovis school board voted Tuesday to administer a survery that will gauge, among other things, the sexual, drug and alcohol habits of high school students.

The anonymous survey, named the Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, will be given to Clovis 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders in the fall.

Parents, however, maintain the right to prevent their child from participating in the survey.

Conducted by the New Mexico Public Education Department, in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health and the University of New Mexico Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the survey will provide a snapshot of current behaviors of the high school population, according to a fact sheet provided by Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ladona Clayton.

Seventy-one of 89 school districts in New Mexico have participated in the survey, data from the UNM Health Sciences Center reports.

School board member Lora Harlan said the survey has met with opposition from parents in the past. In previous years, the school board declined to implement the survey.

“I have had no calls for or against it (implementation of the survey). In the past that was not true — nothing the public has said tells me that is the case now,” Harlan said.

According to Clayton, parental concerns in the past involved the intimate nature of the survey’s questions.

“We already have a variety of intervention programs for students,” Clayton said, “but we cannot garner future resources to help students unless we have good data — right now we have old data.”

The results of the survey will be utilized by Curry County officials seeking state funding for youth intervention programs.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
• The school board discussed the elementary arts in education renewal application and progress for 2004-2005.

• The school board discussed the 2005 Summer Academy and summer school program.

• The social studies (K-12), library science curriculum (1-12) and the Clovis High School curricula were introduced.

• Cameo Elementary School and Clovis High School employees of the month where recognized. The Wal-Mart teacher of the year award was also presented.

• Staff members from elementary schools across the district presented letters to the board commending their decision to enact an early release on Wednesday, a program many teachers believe will greatly benefit students, curriculum and their own professional development.