Youth Risk Behavior Survey



The purpose of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is to help measure the prevalence of behaviors that put the youth of Wakefield at risk for significant health and social problems that can occur during adolescence and adulthood. The data informs the appropriate personnel in order to allocate resources that aid in the planning, prevention, intervention, and evaluation of such risky behaviors.


The 2017 Wakefield Youth Risk Behavior Survey was adapted from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), originally developed by the Centers for Disease Control. Typically issued every 2 years, the questions in the survey measure student demographics, substance use, protective factors, suicidal behaviors, personal safety, sexual health, exercise and weight loss. The 2017 Middlesex League Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was supported financially by Lahey Health who provided funding to conduct the survey and develop a series of district-level reports for each participating school district as well as a regional report for the entire Middlesex League. This work was supported by John Snow, Inc. (JSI), a public health management consulting and research organization dedicated to improving the health of individuals and communities. JSI provided technical assistance to administer the surveys, collect and compile data across the participating school districts, analyze the survey results, and develop the reports.


Wakefield’s 2017 survey was administered in April 2017 to the following sample of students:

Wakefield Memorial High School

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Galvin Middle School7th, 8th550



Positive Trends:

  • Well over 90% of WMHS and GMS students believe that their parents/guardians would disapprove of Tobacco, Alcohol, Marijuana, and Illicit Drug use.
  • 97% of WMHS/GMS students feel safe coming to school, being at school, and coming home from school.
  • Wakefield HS & MS students reported lower rates of carrying weapons & being in a physical fight than their Middlesex League Counterparts.
  • ‘Have NEVER had Sexual Intercourse’ – 72% at WMHS; 94% at GMS.

Concerning Trends:

  • Vaping/E-Cigarette Use is rising at alarming rates (both at WMHS & Galvin).
  • Marijuana use has increased significantly over the past year (Marijuana use while driving also increased) higher than Middlesex League counterparts.
  • Number of youth reporting they have a trusted adult at WMHS has decreased.
  • Galvin bullying increased, higher than Middlesex League counterparts.
  • Number of WMHS students reported they were physically forced to have sexual intercourse, experienced sexual violence, and experienced sexual dating violence was slightly higher than Middlesex League counterparts.


The following is a list of some of the strategies WPS, in collaboration with community partners, are implementing to address risk & protective factors identified in Wakefield’s Youth Risk Behavior Results.

Substance Use Prevention:
  • Wake-Up (Wakefield Unified Prevention) Coalition: active participation from school faculty and students.
  • Health Class Curriculum providing students with increase knowledge of risk of harm and refusal skills (7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade) Evidenced-Based Michigan Model Piloting this year in 6th Grade.
  • Peer-to-peer e-cig/vaping presentations in all 9th grade health classes by Wake-Up Youth Action Team.
  • Bathroom Buzz (WMHS) & News Flush (Galvin) to change norms of "everyone is doing it", when is reality most students are making the healthy choice.
  • Galvin Youth Action Team & High School Youth Action Team initiatives.
  • Parent Sports Orientation Nights.
  • Coaches Trainings & Newsletters.
  • Annual Health & Safety Guide to every parent/caregiver in grades 5-12.
  • Annual Parent University.
  • Implement universal screening tool “SBIRT” with all 7th & 9th graders.
  • Increase educational opportunities for 10th-12th grade students.
  • Implement school-based Substance Use Diversion Program.
  • Increase number of students referred to SAFE Project.
  • Target community/parent norms around alcohol.
  • Develop Quarterly Teacher Newsletter.
  • Healthy & Safe Senior Week Committee Established to address “Prom House” tradition.
Mental Health & Student Support:
  • District Behavioral Health Team monthly meetings.
  • Suicide Prevention Coalition established.
  • Collaboration with local graduate schools to have School Psychologist Interns at each level within the district.
  • Development of WPS Strategy for Social Emotional Health and Learning.
  • INTERFACE Referral Program- Over 130 Student Referrals.
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid: 100+ WPS faculty certified.
  • All Faculty received Mental Health 101 one hour Training ‘16-’17.
  • Student Support Website established.
  • Increased programming with Elliot Crisis Management (at school) & continuum of care with schools, police and families.
  • Galvin Full-Time Guidance Counselor.
  • Student Support Staff outreach at Galvin.
  • Increased Parent workshops on Mental Health topics in collaboration with Wake-Up, Parent Partnership & Wakefield SEPAC.
  • Development of District Social Emotional Learning Leadership Team to monitor strategy implementation.
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid added to 5 Part PD series for all educators and to Mentor Training Program for new teachers.
  • Implement K-12 Social-Emotional Curriculum in Health Classes and Elementary Classrooms.
Violence & Bullying:
  • School faculty participation in Wakefield Alliance Against Violence (WAAV).
  • Galvin & HS Health Class curriculum "Health Smart" includes violence prevention/healthy relationships unit.
  • HS Diversity leaders trained by Anti-Defamation League.
  • Leaders go into 9th & 10th history classes to present lessons on the ID/prevention of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
  • “Yellow Dress”, focused on dating violence, is presented to 11th graders on an annual basis.
  • Galvin established ADL leadership group.
  • Galvin 8th grade leadership orientation.
  • Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) curriculum will be implemented in Health Classes & WHS Athletics. Kim Margolis will run MVP Peer Leadership Group at the HS. Outreach strategies will include how to report violence, sexual harassment, dating violence, and sexual assault.
  • RAD KIDS Program and RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) for HS Women.
  • Several other Galvin & WMHS initiatives.