One of my readers asked where I got the information on statistics for school bullying printed on Examiner.com. It took awhile to go through a growing archive of research now over 10,000 files and big enough to fill up a CD, but here are the sources, with some excerpts from many of them:
School Administrators: Let Students Help Solve Bullying
“Over half of all Americans students have been the victim of bullying in American schools. Furthermore, 1 out of 10 students will drop out this year because they have been harassed.”
“As someone who was bullied in middle school, I know how hard it is to go to school, facing another day of harassment and exclusion. I wish no one else had to go through this. Yet, each day, more than 160,000 U.S. students stay home from school to avoid being bullied. Even worse, 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time. In a recent survey of over 124,000 students across the country, the average grade given to the school on handling bullying was a C. This needs to change. According to the national survey on bullying, run by DoSomething.org, students feel that two of the biggest factors that will help to reduce the amount of bullying in their school is to 1) have a new or updated school policy on bullying and 2) make sure students are involved in creating and updating that policy. In short, students deserve a seat at the table in solving bullying in their schools. It’s time we demand that schools handle bullying in a serious manner. Everyone has the right to attend school without feeling disrespected or inadequate. Join me in signing the petition asking every school to adopt a bullying policy and to give students a seat at the table in creating and updating that policy. Together, we can put an end to bullying. – Bob”
Josephson Inastitute Center for Youth Ethics
The Institute's study also found that one-third (33 percent) of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and one in four (24 percent) say they do not feel very safe at school. More than half (52 percent) admit that within the past year they hit a person because they were angry. Ten percent of students say they took a weapon to school at least once in the past 12 months, and 16 percent admit that they have been intoxicated at school.
"The combination of bullying, a penchant toward violence when one is angry, the availability of weapons, and the possibility of intoxication at school increases significantly the likelihood of retaliatory violence," Josephson said.
80% of high school students see bullying every week
(online survey includes social network bullying)
Bully study hype? Do 80% in high school really see bullying weekly?
By Stephanie Hanes, Correspondent / October 18, 2012
Stephanie Hanes is the lead writer for Modern Parenthood and a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, Christopher, her daughter, Madeline Thuli, a South Africa Labrador retriever, Karoo, and an imperialist cat named Kipling.
MY NOTE: This author takes a skeptical view of the DoSomething. Org online survey.
There’s a new study out today about bullying in American high schools, and at first glance, the numbers from this one are shocking:
Scouring data from more than 50,000 teens across the country, researchers with DoSomething.org, a social action organization for young people, found that more than 80 percent of American high school students see bullying every week. Only a tiny percentage – three percent – said that bullying at their school was “not an issue at all,” and fully half of teens said they rarely or never see their peers intervene. (This despite almost everyone saying that the best way to combat bullying is to have other students, rather than teachers or parents, intervene.)
Also, contrary research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and other cyberbullying studies, the DoSomething.org survey found that the most commonly reported location of frequent bullying was online: more than two out of three students reported frequent online bullying. (In contrast, 67 percent of teens in Pew research reported that bullying and harassment happens more offline.)
All in all, it is a grim look at the state of teenage life in our country’s high schools.
But before the hand-wringing gets too intense, let’s take a closer look at “The Bully Report.” Because as we have written here before, there is a lot of hype surrounding the growing anti-bullying movement, and it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in sound bites.
First of all, not even the study authors are suggesting that the data garnered from this massive survey is scientific. The numbers come from a Facebook app that DoSomething.org launched in partnership with the movie "Bully" – a film that has received its own share of controversy for what some advocates say is a simplistic, and even reactionary, way of portraying a complicated topic. (Take a look at some of our earlier posts about the ambiguities of the growing anti-bullying trend.)
DoSomething.org designed the Bully App to be active for eight weeks, with hopes that 15,000 people would take part. More than 21,000 people installed the application and graded their schools within the first 10 days. The organization decided to let the data keep coming in, and within five months, 183,525 people had used the app to report on their experiences and perceptions with bullying.
So right away, the researchers knew that they were dealing with students who were not simply online, but students who had Facebook pages. (And there has been research showing that teens who spend a lot of time on social media sites are more likely to encounter online bullying.)
Eventually, researchers cut the responses they would evaluate by half, after eliminating college students and adults reporting retroactively on their experiences, and by cross checking Facebook identifications with the responses users gave about their schools, ages, and so on.
Still, “the content of the Bully App was casual by design – prompts within the app were chatty and at times leading – and all the participants self-selected to take part,” the report states. But due to the large volume of data captured, it continues, and because it correlates with findings from other more scientific studies, the survey is still valid.
And that may be. But even so, the student answers to many of the questions don’t paint quite as dire a situation as the soundbites about the survey suggest.
That whole issue about nobody intervening? There’s another question in the survey that asks “When you have seen people intervene in bullying at your school, who usually steps up?” Only 9 percent of male students and 10 percent of female students answered “no one.”
And to the question of “Do you think bullying is a problem in your school?”, while only two or three percent of respondents answer “No way. Not an issue at all,” 54 percent answered either “Not really, it doesn’t cause problems for us” or “I don’t know if I’d say ‘terrible,’ but it happens.”
Now this isn’t to suggest either that the study should be discounted – it shouldn’t – or to say that it paints a rosy picture of harmony and kindness at high schools across the United States. It doesn’t. The survey is massive, and the fact that more than 180,000 people were compelled to share their own experiences about bullying on Facebook may say as much as their answers.
But with the amazing amount of attention these days to bullying and anti-bullying initiatives, it is important to parse studies and initiatives carefully. The risk, of course, is that shocking soundbites and potentially inflated numbers lead us astray from finding fixes to the sort of bullying that is very real, and emotionally and physically traumatic.
At the end of the report, researchers write that “immediate steps should be taken by school officials to address bullying in their schools.” But this is the big question for school administrators and parents: What, exactly, can they do?
Despite the growing number of anti-bullying laws and increased pressure on schools to have anti-bullying policies, much research has found that most institution-designed interventions are not particularly helpful, and sometimes even counter productive.
It is tricky even defining bullying. The survey is a case in point. The Bully App described bullying to users as “a repeated, awful action that makes someone feel bad about themselves. It takes on many forms – like nasty texts, physical harassment, insults, even dirty looks.”
This description might be narrow enough to exclude television anchor Jennifer Livingston as a bullying victim. (Check out our story on that bully breakdown.) But it is far broader than most academic-based definitions of bullying, which include the crucial component of a power imbalance between victim and perpetrator.
Bullying is, clearly, a problem. Research on top of research has shown all sorts of long term negative results from this sort of meanness between children. But as any school administrator knows, it’s a tall order to determine which behavior is “awful,” or to stop “dirty looks” that make someone feel bad.
Bullying, it turns out, is just not as simple as it seems. Even on a Facebook app.
Many students scared to go to school
October 6, 2012
Examiner Staff Writer – education
The Washington Examiner
By most regards, John F. Kennedy High School is a good high school in Silver Spring. The overwhelming majority of students pass state exams with flying colors, and 82 percent graduate within four years. Later this month, students will dress in university gear to celebrate College Readiness Day.
So why do only half of Kennedy students feel safe in school?
On just-released surveys, students in even the Washington suburbs' best schools say bullying remains a serious problem at a level undetected by parents and teachers. Some campuses suspended students hundreds of times for endangering school safety in the 2011-12 school year.
At Kennedy, only 53 percent of students agreed with the statement "I feel safe at school," while students were suspended 131 times for fighting, making threats, stealing, disrupting class, attacking others, or possessing dangerous substances or weapons. At least one-quarter of students at 22 of Montgomery County's 64 public middle and high schools couldn't say they felt safe at school, up from 19 in the previous year.
In Fairfax County, more than half of students admitted to bullying others in the past year on a survey of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders. The numbers were up for every grade over the 2010-11 school year, with eighth-graders most likely to bully others at 56 percent. Five percent of students said they brought a weapon other than a handgun to school that year, while just 1.2 percent said they brought a gun to class.
The majority of students at 30 of Montgomery County's 38 middle schools said bullying was a problem, while the number of confirmed bullying incidents increased by 56 percent in the high schools and by 17 percent in the middle schools.
Read the full story here:
Study: Half of high school students admit to bullying
Oct. 27, 2010
(CNN) -- Half of all high school students say they have bullied someone in the past year, with nearly as many saying they have been the victims of bullying, according to a new study released this week.
The study of the "Ethics of American Youth" released Tuesday surveyed more than 40,000 high school students and has been conducted every other year since 1992.
The study by the non-profit Josephson Institute of Ethics also found that one-third of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and nearly one in four say they do not feel very safe there. The problem is much less pronounced at private schools, where the figures drop to less than 10 percent in those two categories.
Weapons are also a part of the mix with 10 percent of all students saying they took a weapon to school at least once in the past 12 months, and 16 percent admitting that they have been intoxicated at school. More than half admit to hitting someone within the last year because they were upset.
Half of high school school students admit to bullying
School Bullying Studies Released by OJJDP
160,000 students stay home from school every day due to fear of being bullied
As observed, majority of the students are afraid to go to school because of bullying
Bullying in Schools - Cops - Department of Justice
(2.46Mb PDF file - 56 pp)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention study
results of three studies (477Kb PDF file)
School Bullying Study – Google search
How many kids are afraid to go to school because of bullying