data dump

Half Of High Schoolers Victimized By Bullying. And Half Of High Schoolers Are Bullies Themselves

Nearly half of all American high schoolers faced harassment in the past year, according to a new national survey. But the real startling statistic is that roughly an equal number of students reporting being the tormenters.

Armed with the data of more than 43,000 students aged 15-18 in 78 public and 22 private schools, the Josephson Institute of Ethics’s huge survey found at least half of respondents had been “bullied, teased or taunted someone at least once” in the past year, while 47 percent reported physical abuse, harassment, or threats that “seriously upset” them. Moreover, some 52 percent said they had physically assaulted another student in the past year — which might explain why nearly a third of students said violence was prevalent in their schools, and 24 percent said their hallways were unsafe.

Additionally, 23 percent acknowledged being biased toward specific groups; 42 percent admitted using racial slurs.

These numbers, even for cynics, are startling. More than half of these kids are resorting to physical violence in school. But I can’t imagine the bullies and the bullied are completely distinct groups, although the numbers might suggest as much. We often see kids that are picked on find less powerful peers to be their victims, creating a vicious cycle of violence that begets violence.

[Money Times, Daily Breeze]

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  • ait10101

    Well, there is the top half and the bottom half. Isn’t that how it works? No, actually.

  • Fitz

    If 52% of teens get “bullied” then “bullied” tells you nothing. (because 52% of kids don’t commit suicide). What has been described in the published suicide notes isn’t “bullying” a la Nelson Muntz, it’s more terrorized a la Freddy Cruger.

  • Shaded Spriter

    “some 52 percent said they had physically assaulted another student in the past year” I wonder how many of them were the victims finally having enough and punching their attacker in the face and because they are honest they admit to it.

  • gina

    And we all know that studies are always correct. 52%… don’t buy it. How about first giving some of the study’s methodology before you quote it along with who the organization is who put it together.

  • Jack

    I simply don’t believe that 52% of kids use violence against their classmates.

  • Evan

    I have a very strong suspicion that the study used a definition of “physical violence” that includes not only bullying behaviours, but also fighting back and self-defense.

    I also wouldn’t be terribly surprised, given how schools seem to have lost all perspective on kids’ behaviour, if they’re counting harmless consensual activities like playfighting/wrestling, pain tolerance games, poking/tickling, fake punches, even fake threats of fake punches.

    “Assault” and “violence” and “weapons” and “drugs” no longer mean what they should. It’s really hard to extract any actual meaning out of anything school-safety-related.

  • boom

    I’m IN high school today, and these statistics don’t surprise me at all. Those of you who are in denial are just that–in denial. Maybe you’re just in shock. But this is definately a reality, at least in my school. And it’s not just guys–girls pull hair and slap and even punch each other all the time. They hit guys, and you wouldn’t believe it but I see guys shove girls around all the time. And I’m not going to stop them when I see it happen because I don’t want to get hit either.

  • FlopsyMopsyCT

    This article and/or the study it reports is mixing up terms which need clarifying before one can really tell how accurate the study is. Legally speaking, you can’t “physically assault” someone. Assault is merely creating apprehension in a person of a harmful or offensive act. Once you actually hurt someone, it’s called battery. Reeling your arm back to punch someone but not following through with the actual punch is an assault. Making a punching gesture but then stopping short of the target’s face is an assault. Once you actually complete the gesture by touching the person (or something on them) in an offensive way, it becomes battery. Battery doesn’t also need to be necessarily violent. A kid slapping the books out of another kids hand, causing them to fall to the floor is a battery. Touching someone’s hair when they don’t want it is a battery. So yeah, there is a difference which is not touched upon in the article.

    With the above said, it could be totally accurate that 52% of students commit assault, if they are truly only reporting assaults. If they mean battery (from the use of “physically assault,” it sounds as if they mean physical abuse), then the number is probably high. It is definitely too high for an average if they mean actual violence.

    Much like Evan said above, if they really are reporting harmful, physical contact (i.e. battery), then they are probably including acts that don’t necessarily have a violent outcome, like knocking a kid’s books.

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