Do students respect each other?
A surprising 67 percent of kids surveyed at Wellington High School and 56 percent at McCormick Middle School say no.
The numbers come from a survey of students, parents, and teachers conducted this spring. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, it was created in 2016 as part of an effort to create a national study measuring feelings on issues such as bullying, student equality, and student-teacher relationships.
“When we asked if kids are treated the same regardless of whether they’re rich or poor, we had some very mixed results,” said district superintendent Ed Weber. “More said yes than no, but it was pretty split. We want to find out what caused that split. Is it the poor kids who feel like they’re not treated as well? Perhaps it was kids who were more well off who felt everyone is treated fine.”
At McCormick, 64 percent either agreed or strongly agreed that students are treated equally regardless of their family’s income while 36 percent either disagreed or strongly disagreed.
Results were much closer at WHS: 54 percent agreed and 46 percent disagreed.
Among Westwood teachers, 77 percent agreed. Westwood students were not included in the survey.
Most survey-takers said bullying is a problem in the schools.
Many Westwood students are on Facebook. But Weber said cyberbullying arises in online video games such as Fortnite and Minecraft just as much as it does on social media.
Also alarming: Twenty-two percent of McCormick students and 26 percent of WHS students claimed that some of their peers carry knives or guns to school.
Weber said one McCormick student was expelled last year after being caught with a knife but that it was the only documented weapons incident since he took over the district.
“That was another one that just blew us out of the water,” he said. “We have such a proactive check system for the students. This is what’s in the kids’ minds. They’re thinking this, so we have to figure out what’s impacting their thought in this way. What are we doing either proactively or reactively that either helps or hurts these results?”
The survey was completed by 310 students at McCormick and 214 at WHS.
Focus groups of 40 students will meet to discuss the results this fall, winter, and spring. Four students from each grade (three through 12) will be selected to take part.
The groups will be run in partnership with the Beachwood-based Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio.
Each school building has been tasked with improving on the results of two survey questions.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.