Although enormous efforts have been made to increase anti-bullying legislation and to raise public awareness, school bullying is still one of the most urgent issues facing students, according to a report by researchers from Clemson University and Professional Data Analysts Inc.
“Bullying continues to affect a great number of children in all age groups, with the highest prevalence observed in third and fourth grades, where roughly 22 percent of schoolchildren report that they are bullied two or three times or more per month,” said co-author Dr. Sue Limber, professor in the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life at Clemson.
For the report, researchers collected data from the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire and analyzed a representative sample of more than 200,000 questionnaires given to students at schools that had future plans to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, an internationally respected anti-bullying program.
The sample included 1,000 girls and 1,000 boys from each grade between third and twelfth; the results were broken down by grade level and gender.
According to the report, verbal bullying occurs more often than any other form of bullying, with 16 percent of both girls and boys reporting being verbally bullied two to three times a month or more.
The spreading of rumors was the second highest reported form of bullying and differs slightly between girls and boys (15 percent of girls compared to 11 percent of boys).
Many of the bullied students reported that they had not told anyone about being bullied, and boys were less likely to confide in others than girls. More than 90 percent of girls and 80 percent of boys said they felt sorry for students who are bullied, although far fewer actually made any efforts to help them.
“We found that 18 percent of all students surveyed were involved in bullying others, were bullied by others or both, and that cyberbullying was one of the least common forms of bullying experienced,” Limber said.
“Many students also lacked confidence in the administrative and teaching staff to address bullying and, by high school, less than one-third of bullied students had reported bullying to adults at school,” she said.
“Although half of students in grades three to five believed that school staff often tried to put a stop to it when a student was being bullied, this percentage dropped to just 36 percent by high school.”
The researchers say that evidence-based prevention programs are some of the most successful tools for decreasing bulling behaviors.
“We hope that this report helps teachers, administrators, parents, policymakers, and concerned citizens raise national awareness about bullying and improve school environments so every child can feel safe at school,” said Limber.
Source: Clemson University