Two elementary school children at a desk writing on papers with books stacked near them

Healthy Youth

Young people need opportunities to grow up in a healthy way. They need learning settings that support them. This is because education is a key issue that determines health and income.

One way to support youth is to increase school health services. One more way is to address structural racism in the school system. This will have a positive impact on student wellbeing.

Black students are twice as likely to be disciplined for disruptive behavior. They are more than twice as likely to be suspended or expelled. Restorative justice and mediation can improve outcomes and graduation rates. This is instead of suspension or other traditional discipline approaches. 

Our approach:

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    Why This Matters

    In Oregon, Black students are twice as likely to be disciplined for disruptive behavior. They are more than twice as likely to be suspended or expelled.* These same disparities are clear even in early childhood and preschool settings. 

    Teachers can be trained and supported with anti-racist skills. The goal is to reduce their bias and address this disparity for students of color.

 * https://www.oregon.gov/OCBA/PDFs/Allard%20-%20Restorative%20Justice%20in%20Public%20Schools%20report.pdf page 1

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    Definitions

    Restorative justice repairs the harm done by conflict or crime. It does this by organizing a meeting for the victim, the offender and the wider community.

    Mediation is a process where two or more students involved in a dispute meet in a private, safe and confidential setting. They meet to work out problems with the support of someone who is trained to help them.

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    Why This Matters

    Restorative justice in education is an approach that can be used instead of traditional punishment like after school detention or suspension. This approach holds students accountable for harmful behavior. At the same time, it helps repair relationships and increase connections. Along with mediation, it has been shown to greatly improve outcomes in discipline and graduation rates. This is especially the case for students of color.

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    Why This Matters

    Oregon has some of the most comprehensive health education standards in the country. They provide important information about how to:

    • Prevent pregnancy
    • Have healthy relationships
    • Prevent sexual violence
    • Prevent suicide

    But school districts are not meeting these standards equally. This strategy aims to make sure school districts are meeting requirements.

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    Why This Matters

    Many students have trouble getting to school every day. Health-related barriers are part of what stops youth from from going to school and being successful when they are there. There are now some routine screenings in schools. This strategy aims to expand health screenings and interventions offered. Health-related interventions include education in areas such as healthy eating, physical activity and healthy relationships.

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    Why This Matters

    Children of color are more likely to have cavities than white children, often due to barriers in access and cost. This has an impact on how well a child can function in school.

    Expanding dental care in schools provides care at a place where students already are. Also, it helps them to miss less  school for that care.

*https://oregoncf.org/news/new-analysis-highlights-disparities-in-oregon-kids-access-to-preventive-oral-health-services/

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    Definition

    Culturally responsive is the ability of individuals and systems to respond respectfully to people of all cultures, in a way that accepts the value and preserves the dignity of individuals, families and communities.

    Trauma-informed is an approach that acknowledges the impact of trauma. It promotes a culture of safety, empowerment and healing.

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    Why This Matters

    Behavioral health services for children and youth are a crucial need. In 2017, youth in our state reported rates of being in a depressed mood for two weeks out of the past year. These rates were cause for concern.  They were:

    • 30% of 8th graders
    • 32% of 11th graders *

    This strategy seeks to expand and improve services for children and their families. This is both inside and outside of school settings.

* https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/ABOUT/Documents/sha/state-health-assessment-full-report.pdf  page 86