October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Bullying in High School

Dealing with Bullying in High School

Is Bullying Getting Increased Attention or Is It Becoming a Bigger Problem?

This is a fair question to ask given the recent media attention being given to bullying and particularly the more high profile incidents of student suicide and shootings. The answer to this question is that both are likely true.

  • On April 20th, 1999, bullying became a main focus for educators and the public following the Columbine High School tragedy in Colorado. 12 students and a teacher were left dead with 24 other students injured before the shooters committed suicide.
  • 2/3 of school shooters reported being chronically bullied throughout their school years
  • Over two decades of bullying studies continue to show the lasting negative effects of bullying including lasting psychological, physical and social/societal negative effects. 

High School Teachers Are Often Less Aware of Bullying

In one study of 14 northeastern US high schools, 57% of high school teachers predicted that only 10% of students at their schools were being bullied. Only 9% of high school teachers accurately predicted that 29% of students at their schools report being victims of bullying.

In contrast, elementary school and middle school teachers appear to be better at accurately predicting the rates of bullying in their schools.

Sexual Harassment in High School

In contrast to elementary and middle school, and perhaps unsurprisingly, sexual harassment increases during the high school years.

  • Sexual harassment is more commonly reported by girls in high school than in middle school.
  • By the end of their school years, 81% of students report experiencing sexual harassment at least once with 55% of 8th and 9th graders reporting experiencing sexual harassment and  61% of 10th and 11th graders.

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