Kid, You Scare Me 

Idaho teens not necessarily Leave it To Beaver material

The State Department of Education wants parents to know: Your kids really are better than the rest of the country's kids. In behavior, anyway. Although Idaho students do lots of bad stuff--they drink, they smoke, they have sex, they drive with drunk people--they were doing all these nefarious activities at a slightly lower rate than the national average. The 2005 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey looked at 1,457 9th through 12th-graders and got some frank--and frankly scary--responses. Current Superintendent of Public Instruction Marilyn Howard said she was worried about one indicator in particular.

"We are pleased to see Idaho students continuing to make good choices with regard to substance abuse," Howard said. "However, we would like to see the rates of teens who say they have considered or tried suicide drop instead of increasing."

Yep, it's true: nearly 9 percent of Idaho teens queried by the survey said they'd tried to kill themselves in the last year. That's worse than the national average of 8.5 percent of kids across the country who have reportedly tried to commit suicide.

You might expect the material to appear in the campaigns now underway to replace Howard; Republican Tom Luna and Democrat Jana Jones are both hoping to replace Howard after tough primaries on both sides. So far, neither have mentioned the report in their campaign materials.

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