Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Sixty percent of U.S. high school seniors believe that smoking marijuana poses no health risks, according to newly released survey data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. CNN.com has more:
More than a third of the seniors surveyed reported smoking marijuana in the past 12 months.
Each year, the Monitoring the Future survey asks eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders about their drug and alcohol use and their attitudes toward illegal substances. For 2013, more than 41,000 students from 389 U.S. public and private schools participated.
Only 2.4% of high school seniors reported using marijuana daily in 1993; this year that percentage nearly tripled – to 6.5 %. And it’s not just the older students – more than 12% of the eighth-graders surveyed said they had used marijuana.
“It is important to remember that over the past two decades, levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – have gone up a great deal,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in a statement. “Daily use today can have stronger effects on a developing teen brain than it did 10 or 20 years ago. … The children whose experimentation leads to regular use are setting themselves up for declines in IQ and diminished ability for success in life.”
Teens also continue to abuse prescription medications such as Adderall, which is commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Vicodin. But while alcohol use is still high – close to 40% of seniors reported drinking in the past month – it’s been on a steady decline since its peak in 1997.
Image: Marijuana, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Young adults who are thought to be more attractive than their peers are, starting in high school, more likely to be given advantages that eventually lead to higher pay in their early jobs, according to new research conducted by sociologists at the University of Illinois in Chicago. More from Today.com:
A new research paper finds that attractive young adults enjoy a pay advantage over their less attractive peers, and that advantage starts building as early as high school.
“There may be this kind of snowballing effect across time,” said Rachel Gordon, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and one of the study’s co-authors.
The researchers found that, starting as early as high school, more attractive people were rated as more intelligent and more promising. They also got higher grades and were more likely to graduate from college than their peers.
Gordon said those early successes and confidence boosters may create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the attractive high school students end up being more successful in adulthood.
That boost can have long-term consequences on how much money you earn. Past research has shown that that both women and men enjoy a wage bonus for having above-average looks, and can suffer a wage penalty if they have below-average looks. That’s along with other economic advantages prettier people enjoy.
Gordon said the new research shows that the origins of that advantage may start well before adulthood. That could raise awareness about what high school teachers and administrators can do to mitigate the effects of what they dub “lookism,” and help less attractive students feel more included and confident.
Image: Attractive girl, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Officials at the high school in Lunenburg, Massachusetts have cancelled the remainder of its football season in the wake of an incident in which racially charged graffiti was sprayed onto the home of the team’s only black player. More from NBC News:
Lunenburg, Mass., School Superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes announced Monday that the “remaining football games of the season have been forfeited” — including the traditional Thanksgiving Day game — because of “racial harassment investigations.”
Racial slurs, including the N-word, were found Friday spray-painted on the foundation of the home of freshman and junior varsity athlete Isaac Phillips, 13 — the only black player on the Lunenburg Blue Knights football team, according to NBC affiliate WHDH. Isaac’s father is black and his mother is white, according to the Associated Press.
Anthony J. Phillips, Isaac’s father, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette he is angry at Lunenburg officials who allegedly concealed racist remarks made by numerous Lunenburg football players during games.
“This is a few bad kids and the coaches are letting them do anything they want to do,” the father told the newspaper.
At a news conference Monday, Calmes thanked locals for gathering at a vigil Sunday night and standing behind Phillips and his family, who she said were victims of an “act of hate.”
Image: Football, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 8th, 2013
Some parents who are unhappy with a Tennessee high school’s lunchtime program that separates students who are under-performing academically so they can receive additional instruction while they eat, calling the program “segregation” that is unfairly punishing kids who struggle academically. School officials, however, insist that the program has nothing to do with civil rights, and everything to do with education. More from The Huffington Post:
According to local outlet WSMV-TV, La Vergne High School in Rutherford County has been requiring some of its students to attend academic intervention classes during lunchtime, in an effort to raise the grades of struggling students. The outlet reported that some parents are not pleased with the school for forcing certain students eat in a separate location.
“I call it a civil rights violation and segregation, no doubt,” local parent Paul Morecraft told WSMV.
However, Rutherford County School District spokesperson James Evans told The Huffington Post over the phone that La Vergne administrators decided to hold academic interventions during lunch so that the program would not cut into class time. He also disputes WSMV-TV’s assertion that the program forces some La Vergne students to eat separately from others in the cafeteria.
According to Evans, every student in the school is given 25 minutes for lunch. After that time, students who need extra help take another 25 minutes to study in a “learning lab.” Students who are in good academic standing have the option of staying in the cafeteria or participating in other enrichment activities for the extra 25 minutes.
“One misconception is that students are losing their lunchtime or being made to eat in some separate location,” Evans told HuffPost. “They’re still eating in the cafeteria for 25 minutes.”
Students who are scoring below an 80 percent in any subject are required to attend academic intervention.
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Image: School double doors, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Kevin Breel, at age 19, has given a TED talk in which he’s painfully honest about living with depression as a teenager, and feeling that stigmas that surround mental health were stopping him from asking for help. More from Today.com:
Like many of the 121 million people worldwide who suffer from depression, Breel said he was leading a double life. In high school, while everyone else saw a happy popular kid and star on the basketball court, deep inside there was a boy tortured by intense pain that kept ratcheting up.
“I’d look at the school,” Breel told Geist. “And I would know in my head that, ‘I’m about to walk in there and smile, laugh, high-five people, and put on a total front.’”
If you haven’t been depressed, there’s no way to understand it.
“Real depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong,” Breel says. “Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right.”
“I felt like I couldn’t be happy,” Breel added.
He believes his depression was triggered by the tragic loss of a best friend coupled with the divorce of his parents, and he turned his feelings of loss and anger inward.
“I started to, in a way, hate myself,” he said. “I felt so unhappy and I couldn’t explain why or justify why to anyone. So I didn’t feel like I could talk about it.”
As a teenager he used sports as a way to escape his pain. But his successes, instead of making him feel good, only underscored how bad he felt.
“We had just won a high school basketball championship, and I was leading scorer of the tournament,” Breel said. “I was first team all-star, and our team won the championship. I had everything that I had thought of for four years. And I realized that that wasn’t going to take away my pain.”
See Breel’s whole TED talk here:
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