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Annual Report Says Oregon Students Feeling Less Safe At School

<p>The Gresham High School auditorium.</p>

Ericka Cruz Guevarra 

The Gresham High School auditorium.

A new report from University of Oregon researchers and an anti-bullying coalition finds teenagers feel more threatened at school.

The “State Of Safe Schools”report found troubling evidence of a rise in traumatized Oregon children. More Oregon eighth graders – up to 17 percent on a survey last year — reported having suicidal thoughts. Eighteen percent of high school juniors reported suicidal thoughts. 

Those numbers pale compared to what LGBT students report. One quarter of gay and lesbian students surveyed reported actually attempting suicide.

Report co-author Julie Heffernan, a researcher at the University of Oregon, said LGBTQ students are far more likely to feel threatened – including by weapons. They’re also more likely to report being sexually assaulted or coerced into sexual activity.

“These kids are more inclined to not attend school because they’re afraid,” she said. “They self-report missing school at least once in the last 30 days out of fear.”

Heffernan hopes more trauma training for teachers and a new sexuality curriculum will help.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.