A survey of 6,008 South Los Angeles high school students shows that many are frightened by violence in school, deeply dissatisfied with their choices of college preparatory classes, and — perhaps most striking — exhibit symptoms of clinical depression.
“A lot of students are depressed because of the conditions in their school,” said Anna Exiga, a junior at Jordan High School who was one of the organizers of the survey. “They see that their school is failing them, their teachers are failing them, there’s racial tension and gang violence, and also many feel that their schools are not schools — their schools look more like prisons.”
The survey, released late Thursday, was conducted in seven South L.A. public schools by a community youth organization, South Central Youth Empowered Thru Action (SCYEA), with technical guidance from the psychology department at Loyola Marymount University. It suggested that many students in some of the city’s poorest, most violent neighborhoods believe their schools set the bar for success too low — and then shove students beneath it.
In fact, the student organizers said they don’t like to use the word “dropout” to describe their many peers who leave school. They prefer “pushout,” because they believe the school system is pushing students to fail.