A quarter of students in grades five through twelve report being bullied, a survey by San Francisco-based YouthTruth Student Survey finds.
Drawing on anonymous responses from a 180,000 students in thirty-seven states, the report, Learning From Student Voice: Bullying, found that 22 percent of males, 30 percent of females, and 44 percent of students who identify in another way reported being bullied. While the findings are consistent with previous research, the report provides insights into how student experiences vary across demographic groups.
The survey also found that most bullying happened in person, not online; and that students who reported cyberbullying were usually being bullied in person as well. Across all demographic groups, 73 percent of students who were bullied also reported being verbally harassed. In addition, female students and those born female but who identify otherwise were slightly more likely to be bullied socially, with 61 percent of female students and 62 percent of students who identify in another way reporting that they were socially harassed, compared to 45 percent of male students.
The survey also found that almost half of all bullied students — 44 percent — cite appearance as the reason they were bullied, while 17 percent report being bullied because of their race or skin color and 15 percent report being bullied because of their perceived sexual orientation. Male students and those who identify as other than male or female were slightly more likely to report being bullied for their perceived sexual orientation, with 20 percent of male and 45 percent of students who identify in another way being bullied for how they were perceived by others, compared to 9 percent of female students.
"Bullying is an issue that can often be difficult for students to talk about, which heightens the importance of anonymous, candid student feedback," said YouthTruth executive director Jen Wilka. "These findings illustrate that bullying is prevalent in the lives of many students, and that some students may be experiencing bullying differently than their peers. All students have the right to feel safe at school. We hope that this data helps to spark conversations and inform anti-bullying efforts."