The bully pulpit

This whole bullying thing is out of control. Every day thousands of kids in the US cut school because they’re afraid of bullies. Tens of thousands more are literally sick over it, with symptoms like stomach problems, anxiety, and depression, just to name a few. And some—you’ve probably read about the cases—have actually committed suicide.

Statistics on how many kids are bullied are hard to pin down for several reasons. First, it’s hard to define. Is teasing someone “bullying”? A kindergartener in New Jersey was the subject of a bullying investigation after he said that another child had cooties. To call that bullying diminishes the seriousness of the problem.

Second, a lot of kids are so afraid, intimidated, or embarrassed that they don’t ever report being bullied. This is especially true of boys in general and boys who are bullied by girls.

There are also some important differences in the ways bullying happens. For example, children with autism are three times more likely to be bullied than non-autistic children. Just to put this into perspective, 63 percent of autistic kids have been bullied. 39 percent of autistic kids were bullied within the last month (according to their parents) vs. 12 percent of non-autistic kids. More info on bullying of autistic kids is here.

In addition, according to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (part of the Department of Justice:

  • Girls are more likely to report being the subject of rumors than boys (20% vs 13%).
  • More boys than girls report being pushed or shoved (10 % vs 8 %).
    More girls than boys report being excluded from activities on purpose (6% vs 4%).
  • More girls than boys report having received harassing text messages (4% vs 2%) .
  • Higher percentages of Black students and Hispanic students (11 percent each) reported being targets of hate-related words at school than White students (7 percent).
    A higher percentage of Hispanic students (32 percent) than White students (28 percent) reported seeing hate-related graffiti.
  • More boys than girls said they’d been in a dozen or more fights (4% vs 1%).
    On the other side of the bullying spectrum, more boys than girls admit to carrying a weapon in any circumstance (27% vs 7%). And more boys than girls have carried a weapon to school (8% vs 3%).

You can get the complete Bureau of Justice Statistics report here.

Whatcha think?

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