The sad fact about school bullying is that bullying at school has become a fact of life for our kids. School is where most bullying will take place, and no child will escape its impact. The wide reaching effects of school bullying are felt in everything from school morale and academic success to rates of school violence and truancy.
School bullying fact #1: School bullying is widespread
There are more than 7 million incidents of bullying reported in public schools each year. (Smith, 2010) Considering other statistics reveal that on average, 20% or less of kids report bullying, this gives you an idea of how widespread the problem is. At least 86% of twelve- to fifteen-year-olds have experienced some form of bullying.
School bullying fact #2: School bullying contributes to truancy & delinquency
Approximately 160,000 students skip school each weekday in order to avoid school bullying. (National Education Association) It’s also known that a large number of kids either drop out of high school or opt out of college because of bullying in school.
School bullying fact #3: School bullying has a direct impact on the quality of education
In addition to the problems created by truancy or school dropouts, bullying can impair the academic achievement of ALL students, because it makes the school environment a hostile and threatening place. This raises the level of stress hormones in the brain, which interfere with memory formation in the hippocampus and impede a student’s learning ability.
School bullying fact #4: Large schools experience more problems
Although bullying occurs to some degree or another at every school, researchers have found that large schools (defined as 500+ students) tend to have more serious bullying problems that are harder to rectify, because it’s easier for kids to get lost amongst the crowd. (Barker & Gump, 1964) A larger number of kids are competing for the same school sports or extra-curricular activities, the same resources and the same teacher attention, so teachers tend to get to know certain students well while large swaths of the school become invisible. Sadly, despite knowing for decades that large schools exasperate a variety of problems in this and many other areas, the trend towards larger schools in the U.S. is only accelerating.
School bullying fact #5: Bullying leaves students in fear
Data from the U.S. Department of Justice has found that 37% of students don’t feel safe at school because of bullying – a rate that has remained fairly stable over the last two decades. (Cloud, 2012)
School bullying fact #6: School is where bullying originates
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics most recent figures from 2007 show that only 3.9% of bullied students say they were bullied outside school grounds (cyberbullying excluded), indicating that school is the primary spot where bullying takes place. (ibid)C