Director Assunta Ventresca, M.S.N., RN, welcomed Karibu News in her office Monday morning to talk about a wide range of information regarding kids’ health at school and the high rate of sexual activities among Buffalo Public School students.
Referring to the survey’s reports, she indicated that “students in Buffalo schools have a higher rate of sexual activity compared to students in the state and in the nation.” She also said kids are already having sex with multiple partners at an early age.
Troubled by the reports, Ventresca said much is being done including strong sexual education. “We might not see lower rates this time but by the next time we do it in 2017, we should see a decrease.” She advises parents to talk with their kids about sex, because they learn about it from friends, social media, and TV.
Highlighting the main school programs she directs that involve the activities of the Health Related Services (HRS), Ventresca mentioned sexual health, nutritional education, garden curriculum, physical activity, mental emotional/behavioral health, staff health emotion, family engagement, school wellness, and community partnership, that will be carried out under a new model developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) called “Whole School. Whole community. Whole Child.” The model encompasses various components which need to be addressed.
The model includes, among other things, health education, physical education activity, nutrition environmental and services, health services, counseling, psychological and social services, social emotional climate, physical environmental, employee wellness, family engagement, and community environment.
Ventresca said that one of the tools to use in order to implement the model is through the risk youth behavior survey that kids take online which looks at students’ behaviors. The survey asks a wide range of questions about sex, alcohol, drugs, asthma, school attendance, nutrition and so forth. She indicated that parents have the right to opt out by preventing their children from participating in the survey.
“Throughout districts there are 300 kids who opted out, but I want to say how many kids took the survey, about 11,000 and the survey results are very helpful.”