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Everett High students respond to Q13 FOX report on teen drug use in passionate letter, video

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Update – April 13, 2015

On Thursday April 9th, Q13 FOX reported on the results of the Healthy Youth Survey which is a report released by a coalition of state agencies including the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Health.

The survey asks students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 about safety, violence, physical activity, diet, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.

For the first time this year, a question was asked on the survey about heroin use. The results of the report stated that of the Snohomish County 12th graders who participated in the survey, 5.7% said they had tried heroin at least once – which is above the statewide average in the survey at 3.2%.

In our report, we interviewed a young woman who said she was a student at Everett High school. She told our reporter that drug use at Everett High was a “major problem” and that she had knowledge about students using drugs off campus and returning to the school. The Everett School District informed us this morning that the teen is a ‘former’ student at Everett High School, not a current student. We regret the error.

The principal at the school sent a letter to parents stating that “during (her) tenure, we have never had instances of hard drugs like meth, cocaine, or heroin on campus.”

We also heard from student leaders who sent us a letter saying they were “incredibly saddened” by the report and that it misrepresents their school. The student leaders also put together a YouTube video about this:

Q13 FOX News Director Erica Hill released this statement: “The intent of the story was to report the facts from the statewide Healthy Youth Survey. We never intended to portray Everett High School or its students in a negative light or to imply that students there were using drugs on campus. We regret if that is how the report portrayed Everett High School. I appreciate the articulate and passionate response we received from the student leadership at Everett High School and would welcome an opportunity to report on some of the positive work the students have done. Our community can be proud of the students who spoke up about this report and their school.”

The statewide survey results are based on anonymous responses from students and are used as a guide for state agencies to develop policies.

Students reported in their letter that the survey “may or may not have been taken seriously” by some. We asked the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction about that. OSPI’s communications manager Nathan Olson says they take steps to ensure the survey is taken seriously. He says the wording of the survey is designed to encourage honest responses by addressing the importance of the survey and its purpose. Olson says that language has been used nationally for decades and is researched to ensure the questions lead to valid data.

Additionally, Olson tells Q13 FOX that there is a clean-up feature that eliminates responses surveys that are not completely honest. He says the honesty issue is determined by specific responses to questions as well as a combination of responses on a grouping of questions. Olson says of the more than 300,000 surveys submitted, about 200,000 are used after this filtering.

You can read the results of the survey here.

Here was our original report:

Click here to read the letter from the principal.

The letter from student leaders about our report can be found here.

Original story - April 9, 2015

EVERETT -- More than one in twenty 12th-grade students in Snohomish County have tried heroin at least once, reports the Everett Herald.

According to the Herald, a survey of county students found that 5.7 percent of 12th-graders had tried heroin, far above a statewide average of 3.2 percent. Around 2.8 percent of eighth graders and 3.6 percent of 10th-graders have tried the drug at least once also, the study found.

The study of students, called the Healthy Youth Survey, asked almost 12,000 area sixth, eighth, 10th and 12-graders about their use of drugs, alcohol tobacco and electronic cigarettes. The answers to the survey were provided anonymously.

The numbers follow a recent report that found adult heroin use is becoming an epidemic in Snohomish County.

The study also found that 9.7 percent of 12th graders reported experimenting with cocaine, but the percentage of cocaine use has dropped from 11.8 percent since 2008. Use of marijuana has remained steady or decreased in all grades.

Many surmise a rise in heroin use can be attributed to new prescription requirements for narcotic pain pills.

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26 comments

    • Jerry dudeingsten.

      I use to do hella dope in snohomish, did not negatively effect me, cant say the same for the rest of the people I know doing it, some are dead, some are homeless, but its a personality thing, most likely those people would of wound up were they are now eventually, dope just made it happen faster. I ended up get tired of the drug and stopped and now have a good job and do not plan on doing hard drugs ever again.

  • Resident

    Thank the cartels and the drug culture for this scourge. No matter who you are or where you live in this state you either are or will be seeing young people caught up in this. Drug dealers have been documented giving it away to middle and high school kids to get them to try it.

    • Jerry dudeingsten.

      The cartels and dealers do not even need to give it away for free, it is the addicts that give it away, they want others to do it so it can re affirm their issues and make them seem normal. Knowing others are doing it make them feel better about doing it.

  • M Wihoitwm

    Shame on you, Fox News. This piece is uninformed and slanderous. Did you do any homework before you aired this story? Everett High is not full of out-of-control drug use. Quite the opposite. The school has made tremendous gains in academics, the arts, student involvement and pride in the past four years. Where is the commentary from school or district officials? Why do you let a single student passerby speak for the school? Why would you think one girl is a reliable voice for a county-wide report? Why would the presence of a pot store nearby cause Snohomish County drug use among all students to increase? It’s ridiculous and you should get a more balanced and researched view, and then apologize to Everett High.

  • RyanKW

    Well, when you schedule marijuana the same as heroin, eventually the kids will start to believe the things are comparable. And yeah, a lot of these are probably pill kids that can’t get pills.

  • Wow

    Notice the journalist interviews neither an administrator nor a district official — just a student and a parent. And why is Everett High being singled out? The data refers to Snohomish County as a whole (not Everett Public Schools or Everett High). Furthermore, as a previous person commented, Everett High has made great gains, and publishing this story unfairly damages the school’s reputation. This is not sophisticated journalism.

  • Andy Clemans

    Okay, I took the survey along with my classmates. I don’t know if this is true for all schools but I know an overwhelming amount of people completely lied. They lied and gave the absolute worst answers possible. I am not defending heroin. I absolutely hate everything about drugs. But I am just saying that the numbers are actually not that high

  • Paul

    Can’t we scrounge deeper to do better investigative journalism? This is an unfair representation of Everett High School and as a recently graduated student I can tell you most of that conduct occurs off campus, usually at Clark park. Also only speaking to one student particularly won’t give you an actual representation of what the general consensus is. To properly do that you must survey many, but it’s doubtful that your news team would devote the time to that. It’s infair and EHS deserves an apology from such a poor and misleading view on our school. It’s not like there arent schools in Seattle that have a higher drug abuse problem.

  • NotoNews

    Mr Fox 13 News Director–What is the purpose singling out one school? You know this is the way to flame the fire right? Create a story from a story? This is what your do to create ratings just like Ferguson on a smaller scale?

  • l.nguyen

    What is this mess? A wanna be paparazzi news channel? When I was in school I also was forced to take those mandatory surveys and at least half of my class would “troll” it by marking that yes they did every bad thing there was just because, what was going to happen? Nothing. This is truly sad, one teenage girl said it happens = must be true. Oh, now it’s on the internet = must be even more true. Let’s stop and think now, how will every child from that school be prejudged by jobs, communities, businesses, other schools? This school needs a public apology for the bashing you did on them, way to go Q13Bullies.

  • Larson

    Reporting,at its worst, If the intent is to shock the public,agrivate the students,Inrage the parents well fox you have succeeded, The interviewed student not a current Everett high school student, I reside within blocks of Everett HS. Having students at the school, a proud parent of Drug free students , Fox News needs to research there facts, there are a lot of students that you have upset as they take pride in the school they are part of !

  • neighborhood leader

    Ah another fine piece of journalism fully vetted and not meant to charge up the audience! One student interview, one possible parent and what appears to be a very green reporter…makes for poorly crafted sensationalism and another reason not to listen to or read faux news…

  • NoToNews

    Erica Hill – Thank you for following up with a correction on your poor reporting from last week. I hope you learned a valuable lesson.