Louisiana high school students top in alcohol use, cyberbullying

Louisiana

New statistics reveal Louisiana public high school students lead the nation when it comes to alcohol use. Data shows more than one-third of ninth- through 12th-grade students said they drank alcohol within the previous 30 days. The national average was just under 30%.

The report, “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019,” was released Wednesday from the National Center for Education Statistics with input from the federal justice and education departments. Information from school administrators was collected during the 2017-2018 school year, WDSU reports.

The state also reported the highest rate of cyberbullying, with 21.3% of its high school students reporting they had been targeted via social media, email, chat rooms or another electronic format.

Co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, Justin Patchin compiled data comparable to the information in the new report, including directly from students.

The most popular social media applications are typically where cyberbullying takes place, Patchin said. The challenge for schools is to adapt their policy to discourage students from using technology to bully others, he said, adding that schools often lack the resources to integrate instruction on the topic into their curricula.

Parents also have a role in discouraging cyberbullying, Patchin said, and should not be too quick to place restrictions on their child’s access to technology.

“I think it’s important for parents to talk to kids about cyberbullying, open up that line of communication, so that if their child does experience it they feel comfortable coming to them and explaining the situation,” Patchin said. “Kids are reluctant to talk to schools, but they’re also reluctant to talk to with parents. They frankly think the parents’ response is to take the technology away.”

More information and resources for students, parents and educators is available at cyberbullying.org.

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