Click here to see a copy of the 2012-13 Nebraska Youth Risk Behavior Survey
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The Omaha Public Schools has a local ally in giving its students a longer, more personal and sometimes controversial health survey this fall: Westside High School also has decided to ask its students questions about their history with sex and violence, among other topics.
Like OPS, it's the first time in years that District 66 will give its high schoolers the 94-question federal survey to learn more about their behavior.
“(They) wanted to have a better understanding of student needs,” said Peggy Rupprecht, Westside spokeswoman.
In fall 2010, all Douglas County high schools gave some students at least the shortened version of the youth risk behavior survey, which asks students about their tobacco, nutrition and exercise habits.
The high schools are scheduled to do so again this fall to continue cooperating with a grant the Douglas County Health Department has received.
The districts and schools also can decide to give the more comprehensive survey, as Westside high school administrators have decided.
Rupprecht said it was the first time district students will answer the longer questionnaire.
At OPS, district administrators let the school board make the decision last month. On a 12-0 vote, the board agreed to let its seven high schools give the broader survey to randomly selected students.
At earlier board committee meetings, county health department officials had asked the board to approve the longer survey.
In 1995, the idea of asking OPS middle school students four questions about their sexual behavior worried parents so much that the board opted for a parental consent form. Soon after that survey was administered, the district opted out.
Other districts, including Millard, plan to stick with the modified survey this fall.
Some are still mulling their options.
“We have been asked to participate and are looking into it,” said Amanda Anderson, district spokeswoman for Bellevue Public Schools.
Westside students who are randomly asked to participate in the survey can opt out.
The results of the survey are distributed by county name and carry no district or high school identifications. The data also list race, ethnicity, grade and gender.
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