Compared with the rest of the state, results suggest Mancos High School students experienced higher rates of bullying and weapons on campus last year, and middle and high school students experienced more school connectedness and healthier relationships with adults in the community.
More bullying in MancosBullying appeared to be more prevalent in the high school compared with the rest of the state, a result that school counselors appeared to downplay during the meeting.
About 28.9 percent of Mancos High School students who responded to the survey indicated they had “been bullied on school property,” compared with the statewide average of 18.6 percent.
High school and middle school counselor Natalia Bucher said cyberbullying and “society” were to blame.
Bucher said students who have complained about bullying were mistaken about what it is.
“Society has, in their mind, that if this kid is picking on me, then I am being bullied, and that is not the definition of bullying,” Bucher told the school board. “The definition of bullying is, it’s a habitual, repetitive act of the same nature occurring over time.”
Bucher added that she believed the school had on-campus bullying under control, and that she “will not lose any sleep over (it).”
Pocket knives at schoolMancos High School students also indicated that in the past 30 days, they carried weapons on school property more often than their statewide counterparts – 18.4 percent compared with 4.4 percent statewide.
Secondary School Principal Adam Priestley responded that he asked students about weapons and found that the survey finding could be explained by a cultural acceptance of pocket knives.
“Almost every one of them (the polled students) told me that ‘Well, yeah, I consistently bring a pocket knife on school, really forget about it because it’s my daily tool I use in the morning or after school,’” Priestley said. “Not one of them looked at me like they brought a weapon to hurt somebody.”
Alcohol and marijuana consumptionSchool counselors expressed concern about the findings on marijuana use, pointing out that 27.6 percent of high school students who responded to the survey indicated they “used marijuana in the last 30 days,” compared with 19.4 percent statewide.
Bucher responded that Mancos students might have answered the survey question more honestly than their peers statewide. Results about students’ access to and consumption of marijuana, alcohol and other drugs were not significantly different in Mancos and the rest of the state.
Mental health and social lifeOnly 10.1 percent of Mancos middle schoolers reported feeling “sad or helpless two weeks in a row or more,” which was less than half the statewide rate and a statistically significant difference. Suicidal ideation among middle schoolers was also significantly lower than the state average.
Bucher and Caleb Speas, the Mancos counselor for preschool through fifth grade, said they believed the findings were the result of healthy relationships among middle school students; – 87.7 percent of surveyed Mancos middle schoolers indicated they had “someone to talk to when feeling sad, empty, hopeless, angry, or anxious.”
The counselors expressed appreciation for responses pertaining to high schoolers’ supportive relationships as well; survey results showed Mancos high schoolers were significantly more likely to feel they had “an adult to go to for help with a serious problem,” compared with the rest of the state.
About the surveyThe Healthy Kids Colorado Survey was administered in fall 2017 to more than 80,000 middle and high school students in Colorado. Findings from the survey focus on district-to-statewide comparisons to show how districts compare with peers.
The survey was administered in 2015 and 2013, with some changes made to the survey since. Topics on the 2017 survey included those mentioned previously alongside sexual health, home life and demographic information.
Statistical significance measures a degree of confidence that a certain finding actually exists and is not merely random. Conclusions about actual differences between statewide and Mancos results in this survey should be regarded as possibly erroneous if the results are not labeled “statistically significant.”
Financial auditAt Monday’s meeting, the board also discussed outcomes from an independent audit conducted by Majors and Haley, P.C. The analysis showed a net decrease in the Mancos Re-6 school district’s accounting balance due to changes in PERA, Colorado’s retirement benefits association for public employees. The auditor described no major accounting errors.