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Survey: Students feel safe at school and plan to attend college

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Minnesota students feel safe at school and are thinking about their futures, according to a survey recently released by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The wide-ranging Minnesota Student Survey also took a detailed look at bullying and relationship violence.

The survey has found that about 70 percent of students in eighth, ninth and 11th grades plan to attend a four-year college or university right after high school.

Another 8-16 percent of high school students plan to attend a two-year community or technical college, according to the survey.

The survey itself polled more than 160,000 Minnesota fifth, eighth, ninth and 11th grade students. The Department of Education says the survey is taken every three years. Questions on the survey looked at several issues, including alcohol and drug use, school bullying, safety, dating violence, sexual behaviors and nutrition.

Students are feeling safe at school. The survey finds that 93 percent of fifth graders; 92 percent of eighth graders; 91 percent of ninth graders; and 94 percent of 11th graders feel safe at schools.

Despite more reports of school violence around the country, the survey has found the numbers have remained roughly the same since the survey began in 1995.

Between 5-12 percent of students across all grades have reported being harassed or bullied at least once in the past 30 days for race, ethnicity, religion, gender, perceived sexual orientation, physical or mental disability. The survey also finds nearly a quarter of students in grades, five, eight and nine reported being harassed because of weight or physical appearance.

The survey also found 13 percent of 11th graders reported having a boyfriend or girlfriend who called them names or verbally put them down, while six percent report physical abuse by someone they were dating. Also nine percent reported they had dated someone who had pressured them into having sex when they didn't want to.

Amongst some of the other findings in the survey, fewer students reported using alcohol or illegal drugs compared to peers a decade ago. The survey also found that more than a third of white 11th grade girls said they had tanned indoors, within the last year.

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