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Toronto students worry about family, school and future, survey finds

Toronto News

Toronto students are “reasonably happy” but worry about family, school and their future — concerns that bother them so much they lose sleep, says a new sweeping survey conducted by the Toronto District School Board.

The survey of 103,000 students from Grades 7 through 12 is a rare glimpse into their lives and the largest census of its kind conducted by a school board, asking students everything from their racial background, to how safe they feel at school, to their mental health.

Among the “emotional challenges” these tweens and teens face are feeling lonely and depressed, being “under a lot of stress,” or feeling nervous or anxious.

Among the other findings:

  • Students of all grades report feeling safe at school, and in their neighbourhood, and for the most part say they get along well with their peers.
  • Three-quarters of Grade 7 and 8 students and 68 per cent of high school say their school is a “friendly and welcoming place.”
  • Less than 60 per cent of students in all those grades say they feel comfortable answering questions or speaking in class, or taking part in class discussions and activities.
  • Almost all students say that school staff “respect my background” all or most of the time, and that they are treated well.
  • The survey also found that compared to the last time the census was conducted — in 2006 — fewer are working part-time but more are volunteering.
  • About half of students report eating breakfast every day, and more than two-thirds have lunch daily.