The US Education Department reports that national data about bullying shows that it’s occurring less frequently in schools. But it’s still a serious problem.
Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year (US Ed. Dept.)
“At school” includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school.
Source: US Dept of Justice, School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey.
In 2013, about 22 percent of students reported being bullied at school, compared to 32 percent in 2007 and 28 percent in 2011.
“The department, along with our federal partners and others, has been deeply involved in the fight against bullying in our nation’s schools,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “Even though we’ve come a long way over the past few years in educating the public about the health and educational impacts that bullying can have on students, we still have more work to do to ensure the safety of our nation’s children.”
Although some optimists may want to hope these data show the beginning of a downward trend that could continue for many years, I think it’s hard to talk about “downward trends” that may or may not exist when we can see, really, only one occurrence of decreasing data. How do we know it’s not just noise? I won’t be comfortable thinking this is long-term good news until I see a few years of consistently downward movement in the bullying data.
But still, the current report shows a little good news and no bad news, which makes me optimistic, without forcing me to make any kind of judgment as to what these data reflect about any long-term trends in bullying.
Additional information on the definition of bullying, risk factors for bullying, and bullying prevention can be found on stopbullying.gov. The Department of Education, along with other federal agencies, sponsored stopbullying.gov to provide resources on bullying to school administrators, teachers, parents, and children.