Duval schools youth risk behavior survey terminated by state

FDOH called survey “inflammatory and sexualized” and not in the best interest of Florida students

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Commissioner of Education sent a letter to Duval School County School Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, “strongly urging” that the district end its participation in a CDC youth-risk behavior survey (YRBS).

The letter states, “The CDC survey asks leading questions phrased in a way that may actually introduce risky behaviors to students, prompting them to engage in potentially detrimental activities.”

It continues, “This letter serves to share my grave concerns with your continued participation in this survey, as such an inflammatory and sexualized survey is not in the best interest of Florida students.”

The district also received notice that the Florida Department of Health is terminating its contract with Duval County Public Schools for providing data collection and evaluation related to the YRBS.

Given these developments, the district will not conduct the 2023 YRBS survey.

READ: FDOE letter to Dr. Greene | YRBS Cancellation Form

“Since 2009, the YRBS has been used to provide the district and health partners with extensive data about the experiences of our students and the services they need,” said Dr. Diana Greene, superintendent. “We know we are serving multiple students as young as middle school who are already moms and dads. Even though this survey is going away, we will do our best to remain attentive to the experiences and behaviors of our students and continue to work with other community partners to address their needs.”

The ”Youth Risk Behavior Survey” Duval County students took in 2021 showed:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 middle school students (24.4%) made a plan to die by suicide
  • More than 16% of high schoolers reported attempting suicide in the 12 months before the survey
  • More than 21% of high school students and 17% of middle school students said they abused prescription drugs

The Commissioner of Education’s letter said that the state was developing its own Florida-specific youth survey, that will align to state standards and safely collect information to better serve students.

School district leaders were asking students to fill out the YRBS survey again this school year, but that will not happen now.

About the Authors:

Marilyn has been Digital Director since October 2021. She supervises Jacksonville's number one news website and most trusted source for local news.

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.