Between December 2021 and July 2022, King County Middle School youth shared their experiences and perspectives on emotional safety and well-being at school. Public Health–Seattle & King County partnered with Empowering Youth and Families Outreach, Communities in Schools of Federal Way-Highline, and Cardea to talk with young people who identify with groups who are disproportionately impacted by systemic racism and gender-based oppression about how school environments impact youth emotional wellbeing.
Overall, students feel supported by, value, and want:
- Adults at school to proactively address incidents of racism, discrimination, transphobia and bullying, and to follow-up with those who reported the incident.
- Confidentiality and transparent communication when seeking support from adults at school or using resources provided at school.
- Inclusive education that integrates histories of people of color and LGBTQ+ people, anti-racist principles, cultural responsiveness, and social justice.
- School environments with racial/ethnic and gender-identity diversity and representation.
- Physical spaces that support emotional wellbeing and health.
- Adults at school to build connections with young people by taking time for listening, engaging, and relating to them.
The following infographic and report outline key themes: