Statistics on Bullying
Bullying is not a rite of passage. Allowing name-calling and bullying to go unchecked compromises student performance, damages mental and physical health, and perpetuates a cycle that can lead to ever-greater forms of violence.
Just how pervasive has teasing and bullying become and what kind of threat does it pose for today’s youth?
Bullying has reached epidemic proportions in American schools and communities.
- Sixty-six percent of youth are teased at least once a month, and nearly one-third of youth are bullied at least once a month.1
- Six out of 10 American teens witness bullying at least once a day.2
- For children in grades 6 – 10, nearly one in six — or 3.2 million — are victims of bullying each year and 3.7 million are bullies.3
Bullying is linked to prejudice and ignorance.
- Over the course of a year, nearly one-fourth of students across grades reported that they had been harassed or bullied on school property because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.4
- Nearly one-third of middle schoolers have been the object of sexual jokes, comments or gestures. Another 15 percent have been bullied or harassed because of their religion or race.5
- For every gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender student who reported being harassed, four straight students said they were harassed for being perceived as gay or lesbian. 6
Bullying has serious physical and mental health consequences for youth.
- An estimated 160,000 children miss school every day out of fear of attack or intimidation by other students.7
- One out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.8
- Victims of bullying are more likely to suffer physical problems such as common colds and coughs, sore throats, poor appetite and night waking.9
- Those who are bullied are five times more likely to be depressed and far more likely to be suicidal.3
- The effects of bullying can be long-lasting. By age 23, children who were bullied in middle school were more depressed and had lower self-esteem than their peers who had not been bullied. 10
Unchecked bullying can escalate to more serious violence.
- Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75 percent of school-shooting incidents, including the fatal shootings at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, and Santana High School in Santee, California.11
- Among boys who said they had bullied others at least once a week in school, more than half had carried a weapon in the past month, 43 percent had carried a weapon in school, 39 percent were involved in frequent fighting, and 46 percent reported having been injured in a fight.12
1 2002 National Survey of Students Grades 5 – 12, Families and Work Institute
2 National Crime Prevention Council, 2003
3 Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, September 2003
4 2001 – 2002 California Student Survey
5 National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center
6 National Mental Health Association, 2002
7 National Education Association, 1995
8 Oklahoma Health Department, 2001
9 Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003
10 Dan Olweus, Univeristy of Bergen, Norway, 1993
11 US Secret Service Report, May 2002
12 National Institute of Health, 2003