Clark County Community Foundation Produces 2019 Youth On The Table Report
In March of this year, every 5th – 12th-grade public school student in Clark County participated in community conversations as part of On the Table, a single day of discussions geared toward making our community more welcoming and inclusive.
Students gathered in small groups and discussed prompts provided by Clark County Community Foundation. Groups turned in note pages outlining their big ideas. Following the discussions, students participated in an online survey facilitated by two national survey companies: Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies.
The results are in.
While student’s overall feelings regarding the direction of the community have improved since last year, many issues still clearly exist. Students identified drug and alcohol use as the No. 1 issue that needs to be addressed by our community. Accounts of vaping, drug and alcohol use, and drug dealing were shared by George Rogers Clark High School students in their discussions.
Cyber bullying and bullying of students in the special needs program were topics of conversation at Baker Intermediate, while sharing nude photos on social media was a major issue discussed at Campbell, Jr. High. Bullying, racism and discrimination were the top additional issues identified across all participants.
How can we resolve these issues? Visibility of leadership, developing a school community and increasing opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activities both at school and within the community were some of the suggestions provided by students.
When asked directly how they (the students) would get involved, the top responses were to make a special effort to include someone who has been left out, raise awareness among other young people about these issues, and volunteer.
After 2018’s On the Table discussions focused on school safety and violence prevention, Clark County Community Foundation provided $50,000 to the school district for safety upgrades in line with the results of the report. An additional $27,920 was granted to the district for The Leadership Project to provide training to teachers to implement student leadership activities in the classroom. Clark County Public Schools also used the 2018 report to implement changes, such as the creation of an anonymous tip line and an increase in student and family access to mental health professionals.
“We are thankful that our school system allowed us to go into the classrooms and carry out these conversations for a second year. As the Clark County Community Foundation, we don’t want to just identify issues, we want to help implement solutions,” says Alex Rowady, chair of Clark County Community Foundation.
Clark County Community Foundation will continue its work in partnership with Clark County Public Schools to address issues outlined in the report.
Since conversations in March, Clark County Public School officials have worked to implement changes, including altering rules around bus transportation. The school district will also work to increase awareness of the anonymous tip line, including listing the number on the jumbotron at the new Cardinal Stadium.
“We appreciate Clark County Community Foundation and their work to give a voice to our students” said Superintendent Paul Christy. “We have reviewed this report at the district and school levels and will use the information provided to make improvements for all of our students. We want our students to know that they have been heard.”
Clark County Community Foundation also hosted a public community-wide On the Table event. Adult participants overwhelmingly discussed walkability, accessibility and safety, along with a community socio-economic divide. The proposed solution: increased outreach by civic and religious organizations centered around inclusivity and acceptance.