WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Alarming data revealed by the youth risk behavior survey showed nearly 20% of students do not feel safe at school in Marathon County, and suicide plans and attempts are going up.
Wausau School District's administration building (WSAW photo)
"Getting that student voice with the YRBS data, that's incredibly valuable for us in looking forward at what we need to do," said Angie Lloyd, the Director of Pupil Services for the Wausau School District. "We take it very seriously."
Even before the data was released, the Wausau School District had new plans to address both concerns. One is through a visitor management system called Raptor, which goes district-wide in January.
"Anybody who's going into the school setting has to provide their Wisconsin ID, which is scanned to see if they're a sexual predator," Lloyd explained.
To address mental health, Lloyd said the district is currently working to implement Leader in Me, which is a social-emotional curriculum. It teaches students at all grade levels about self-discipline, managing emotions, maintaining positive relationships and leadership. Research has shown the curriculum lessened behavior incidents and improved teens' mental health.
"That will help address some of those things for students before it comes to an emergent level."
Lloyd said the survey data on top of the new implementations offers another opportunity to re-evaluate.
"So it either reinforces what we're doing or it tells us, nope we got to look at that system and make some changes or make some updates in order for us to be able to address those concerns."
Those mental health concerns are even tackled in the earliest years. A process called The Best Screener asks elementary students how they're feeling upon entering the classroom, so teachers can help them with negative feelings. It will soon be expanding to all elementary schools in the district.