Study shows high school experience is more gloom than glee

Girls bullying another girl

In our recent survey (the largest ever undertaken of the attitudes and conduct of high school students), half of all high school students (50 percent) admit they bullied someone in the past year, and nearly half (47 percent) say they were bullied, teased, or taunted in a way that seriously upset them in the past year. The study reports the responses from 43,321 high school students. The margin of error is less than one percent.

“If the saying, ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me’ was ever true, it certainly is not so today,” said Michael Josephson, founder and president of the Josephson Institute. “Insults, name calling, relentless teasing, and malicious gossip often inflict deep and enduring pain,” he added.

“It’s not only the prevalence of bullying behavior and victimization that’s troublesome. The Internet has intensified the injury. What’s posted on the Internet is permanent, and it spreads like a virus – there is no refuge. The difference between the impact of bullying today versus 20 years ago is the difference between getting into a fist fight and using a gun.”

The study also found that one-third (33 percent) of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and one in four (24 percent) say they do not feel very safe at school. More than half (52 percent) admit that within the past year they hit a person because they were angry. Ten percent of students say they took a weapon to school at least once in the past 12 months, and 16 percent admit that they have been intoxicated at school.

“The combination of bullying, a penchant toward violence when one is angry, the availability of weapons, and the possibility of intoxication at school increases significantly the likelihood of retaliatory violence,” Josephson said.


What you can do:

Parents: Take our three online surveys to determine whether your child is being bullied, whether your child is a bully, and whether you’re doing all you can to prevent bullying.

Teachers: Book an anti-bullying workshop. Our one-day in-service workshop will teach you how to intervene, combat cyber-bullying, and promote a positive school climate. Learn more>>


Click on the links below to see the press generated by the Ethics of American Youth: 2010 survey. Click here for a more comprehensive list.

USA Today: “Bullying Survey: Most teens have hit someone out of anger”

Chicago Sun-Times: “Half of high schoolers admit bullying someone” Study: Half of high school students admit to bullying

NPR: Study: Half of Teens Admit Bullying in Last Year A Glimmer of Hope in Bad-News Survey About Bullying

Los Angeles Times Blog: Survey shows technology worsening teen bullying

San Francisco Chronicle: Study: Half of teens admit bullying in last year

Washington Post: The Answer Sheet: Are we raising a generation of bullies? “Half Of Teens Report Being Bullied In New Study”

The Canadian Press: National study: Half of high schoolers admit bullying in last year

Education Week: Half of U.S. Teens Admit Bullying in Last Year

The New York Times, Opinion by Charles M. Blow: Private School Civility Gap 

Count on 2 News, WCBD TV, Charleston, SC: “Feds tackle school bullying” (Video:)

Today Show: Bullying: Just a part of growing up? (Video:)

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: DOE Bears Down on Bullying (Video:)