Brendan Fitzpatrick

March 25, 2024

Framingham High Students Reveal Survey Results on School Safety

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FRAMINGHAM - The Framingham School Committee heard a presentation from Framingham High School’s (FHS) Student Advisory Committee at the Memorial Building on Wednesday, March 20, regarding student surveys on safety at the school.

A pair of questionnaires were sent out to FHS students in recent months; the first was published in mid-December and the second went live in early March. Just over 1,000 students replied in total, which represents about 40% of the school’s student body. Spanish and Portuguese surveys were provided alongside an English version, though the Student Advisory Committee noted that they did not receive nearly as many Spanish and Portuguese responses compared to English ones.

This research has come amid continued efforts at Framingham High to make students feel safe. Chair of the Student Advisory Committee Jordan Cohen explained to the School Committee that limiting the number of students in bathrooms, having a check-in system for entry, and implementing an ID policy have been some of those new changes at the school enacted in an attempt to make the site more safe for students.

All questions on the surveys were optional for students, as some said they did not want more strict policies created due to their answers. The results from the surveys presented to the School Committee can be found by clicking here.

Across both surveys, around 9.5% of the student body said they feel unsafe in some capacity.

“While there are under 10% of students that feel either ‘unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe,’ I do want to acknowledge that every student who is feeling unsafe is an issue,” Cohen told the School Committee during Wednesday’s meeting.

“Our goal should all be to make every student, at least, safe—and hopefully get to ‘very safe’ answers.”

Just north of 18% of respondents feel more safe compared to last year, while close to 7% feel less safe. Nearly half of the students who responded to the surveys have not felt a change in their sense of security during that time.

The survey results show that generally, FHS students feel more safe in places like the classroom or on the bus, but they feel more unsafe in the bathroom and the school’s hallways.

The gender of students was another interesting data point, as it was the top category for making people feel less safe at FHS while simultaneously being the second-highest answer for making students feel more safe at the school. Race was the second-highest unsafe factor according to the data, and age along with ability were two of the higher factors on the safe side.

Approximately 51% of Framingham High students said they knew an adult faculty member that they felt comfortable speaking about their feelings on safety with, but nearly 28% said they did not.

Close to 24% of students said campus safety monitors and student resource officers (SROs) from the Framingham Police Department make them feel more safe, while 18.5% said those roles do not help them feel more secure.

Only a third of respondents believe the school environment is often under control, and just 21.5% said affirmatively that FHS does enough to prevent bullying. With that, about half of the students who submitted their thoughts said their ability to learn has been negatively impacted on at least some occasions due to misbehavior from others.

More than 75% of students who responded believe that in spite of efforts to address negative student behavior, Framingham High has not been able to curb the issues they’ve had.

The Student Advisory Committee stressed that students are in need of more communication on the steps being taken to improve conditions, a sentiment that School Committee Clerk Ricardo Robles of District 1 agreed with.

“If I knew some of these things, even as a parent,” Robles said, “that would increase my sense of safety as I walk into the school.”

FHS staff members and city officials said they are continuing efforts to solve these problems. Some of those initiatives include planning public meetings, adding additional training, reviewing current policies, calling upon professional assistance, and identifying more ways to ensure that students can have an adult at school to safely speak with.

The Student Advisory Committee said they would continue to solicit feedback from FHS students on this matter.

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