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Brick School Selected for State Survey

Nature of some survey items questioned at board meeting

has been selected to participate in a survey administered by the state Department of Human Services.

The New Jersey Middle School Risk and Protective Factor survey includes several pages of questions – many personal in nature – that students are asked to answer after their parents give permission. Students' responses to the questions remain anonymous, according to a letter from the department to Superintendent Walter Hrycenko, and the survey will be administered by state personnel over the course of one class period.

The purpose of the 70-question survey, according to the letter, is to help identify the needs for school and community health programs, assist professionals in planning prevention and intervention programs at the local and state levels and to boost the level of data state officials have in determining programs needed to curtail tobacco, alcohol and drug use.

A copy of last year's survey provided to the district, and reviewed by Brick Patch, shows that students were asked numerous questions about their school and their family and personal lives. Aside from demographic questions such as age, race and grade level, students were also asked whether their parents served in the military – and specifically whether a parent served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The survey posed multiple questions to students on how their teachers perform, and whether they feel safe at school. It also asked whether students have smoked, drank alcohol, used drugs, stole property, carried a handgun, or picked a fight with someone over a given period of time. Another section of the survey went into detail to find out what age at which children may have used a laundry list of specific drugs for the first time.

The students were also asked if they like living in their neighborhood, whether parents set rules at home, and how often the rules are broken.

But the survey also asks about good traits in students, including whether or not they obey their parents and teachers, if they attend religious services, or if they perform acts of volunteer community service.

When asked about the types of questions in the survey at a recent Board of Education meeting, Hrycenko did not comment on the nature of the questions themselves, but said the district doesn't have much of a choice in the matter of whether to allow the survey or not.

"We've been selected by the state," said Hrycenko. "So when the state selects you to do these, you kind of have to do them."

concerned citizen November 15, 2011 at 03:17 PM
What the questions should ask is more about the teachers, and what kind of job the students think they are doing! Do the teachers seem interested in teaching, do the students feel they are learning, are the teachers prepared? What is all this nonsense about drugs and their home life? At that age, they are NOT going to tell the truth about drugs, and if they have a horrible home environment, no one can step in as long as it is anonymous!
Susan Cullen Neves November 15, 2011 at 09:18 PM
In paragraph 5, it clearly states that questions are asked about how the students think they're teachers are performing. It is well known that middle-school age children, for the most part, do not take school seriously so what makes you think that they would take this survey seriously? Drugs at this age is where it all starts and yet you say it's nonsense. I am a recently retired teacher and one of the big reasons I retired is because of the stress put upon us "to perform" of which a big part is standardized testing.....how can you teach kids and achieve great test scores when they are unwilling to learn or high on drugs IN SCHOOL. I think most of the kids will be honest re the survey if only to brag about their drug use.
forthekids November 15, 2011 at 10:53 PM
What really bothers me is my children are subject to random drug testing in fact both have been tested this school year in high school. Why are teachers and admin not subject to this testing? If it is OK to test a 15 year old why is it not OK to test a teacher? Seems like a double standard, Susan you just retired, how many faculty members would you suspect of illegal drug use?? I graduated in mid 80's and I know several faculty members who were guilty of this. Teachers should be tested every year, Many jobs in the private sector require a drug screen upon hiring and random testing after that, are the teachers who are supposed to be mentors and role models for our children above this??? Now that your retired hopefully you can answer truthfully. Maybe the high schools should ask the students if they suspect any of their teachers are on illegal drugs. If they can violate the students right to privacy why can't the teachers and admin have their rights violated as well? Seems like a double standard.
concerned citizen November 16, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Forthekids.....I agree with you 100 percent! If the kids have to take random tests, the teachers should also take them. One more comment for Susan, if you couldn't handle the stress of the job the right thing to do was retire. My son went to Brick schools, as did all my children, he graduated from Rutgers, and substituted several times at the high school and changed his mind about teaching because he was bored out of his mind! He could not believe hoe easy their days were!!!!!!!
Support-The-Future November 16, 2011 at 02:42 AM
random drug testing for teachers would be a contract-negotiated change. If you want this to happen, then you need to attend the BOE meetings and make your voice heard.
Support-The-Future November 16, 2011 at 02:44 AM
All a sub has to do is babysit! How can you compare all the work that goes into a school day to a $70 a day babysitter... Oh, by the way, maybe he was bored because the teachers were so good at their jobs that the students had work and knew what to do the days the teachers were out.
JB November 17, 2011 at 02:19 AM
I would say most newer teachers are on drugs. With the decrease in pay, the public attacks, and the disrespect of adolescents today, teaching is attracting less quality people!
Support-The-Future November 18, 2011 at 04:01 AM
i was going to comment on JB's ignorant post but it and he/she are not worth the effort.
concerned citizen November 18, 2011 at 04:21 AM
I have a sneaky suspicion that Support-the-Future just might be a teacher? But I do agree with you on the ignorant statement JB made.
Support-The-Future November 26, 2011 at 03:52 AM
No, I am not a teacher but many of my friends are.

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