Students against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Survey

This month AHS students participated in a survey which helped evaluate substance abuse within the student population. This is the first time this anonymous survey was done at AHS, and students completed over 1000 surveys. Ames High worked with Youth and Shelter Services (YSS) to have students take this survey.

“We gathered data not only about student use but also about student perception of their peers’€™ use,”€ said Erin Kennedy, the Drug Free Coordinator at YSS. “If the perception is that many people use drugs, students will be more likely to use them as well.”€

The online survey was taken in English classes, and some students have said it was easy for them to see how their peers answered the questions. “People could see what others were writing, so I definitely feel that some people probably felt self-conscious,”€ junior Tia Cavender said.

“€œI was completely honest when I completed my survey,”€ junior Megan Diesslin said, “€œbut I heard lots of people talking about how they just answered at random.”€

For example, one anonymous student said, “I was not honest. I said I was Asian and I drink on a daily basis.”€

According to Principal Spence Evans, it is important for students to answer responsibly because these data are used to establish necessary programs to deal with substance abuse. “€œIn the future you will see more student focus groups and a parent town hall meeting with the discussion centered on becoming a drug- and alcohol-free community,”€ Evans said.

In addition, to change students’€™ perceptions about substance abuse, YSS is teaming with the school. “€œWe will be working with [English teacher] Ginny Seibert on bringing back the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group at AHS,”€ Kennedy said.

“€œStudies show that when you change perception, you change behavior.”€ The administration and the staff take the results from this survey seriously. Evans said: “€œI just want our awareness of substance abuse and alcohol abuse to grow.”