Survey results prompt other schools to highlight mental health, school security issues


Patrice Graham

Students walk on the campus of Kenwood Academy, one of the schools that participated in the Chicago mayoral survey organized by the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Peter Cox, City Life Editor

High school newspapers around the city have published stories on their results from a citywide survey of high school students about the upcoming mayoral election. Most publications covered mental health or school security because these were issues their student bodies found most concerning.

The December 2022 survey was organized by the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. The questions on the survey were created and distributed to the student body by student journalists from 11 public, charter and private high schools around the city, including U-High.

Other participating schools included Francis W. Parker School, Jones College Prep, Kenwood Academy High School, Lane Tech College Prep High School, Latin School of Chicago, Mather High School, Northside College Prep, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Butler College Prep and Pritzker College Prep.  

The survey received 1,288 responses: 1,042 from public and 246 from private schools.

The Francis W. Parker student newspaper, The Weekly, published two stories on Jan. 25, one story on security at their school in Lincoln Park and another story about mental health issues Parker students face balancing schoolwork. The story about mental health called on mayoral candidates to address this issue for Chicago teens.   

The Blueprint student newspaper at Jones College Prep, located in the Printer’s Row neighborhood, published a story on Jan. 24 covering the survey results of the Jones student body. The story includes visualizations showing the issues that Jones students were most concerned about. Mental health was the most important issue for most students. School safety, including sub-issues like opinions about metal detectors and lockdown drills were also covered. The story also featured statistics on students’ opinions on the administration’s handling of hate speech incidents and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives with a focus on the shortcomings of the Jones administration.

Citing a high rate of concern about mental health among survey respondents throughout the city, The Champion newspaper at Lane Tech in Roscoe Village published a story on Jan. 23 about mayoral candidates’ policies to address the issue. A second story on Jan. 25 covered the lack of mental health support at their school in particular and other issues that concerned Lane students such as diversity, equity and inclusion and school safety.

The Latin School of Chicago paper, The Forum , published a story on Feb. 1 covering school security as an issue of major concern for Latin students. Example incidents including a recent carjacking and a bomb threat earlier in the year at the school in the Gold Coast neighborhood. The story also explored feelings of social insecurity that students of color experienced at a majority-white school. This was built out further into concerns around diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at the school.

The Beacon newspaper at Whitney Young in the Near West Side neighborhood published a story Jan. 25 about their school’s mental health shortcomings in light of student concerns from the survey.