Get the Facts on Bullying
According to the Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying Final Report, specific data on bullying behavior in schools is hard to obtain given data collection challenges, and that the numbers of those experiencing bullying differ from study to study.
Still, available data suggest the highest level of bullying is among middle school students, with it declining as students get older in high school.
The U.S. Department of Education School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCES, 2019) indicated that 20.2% of students ages 12-18 reported being bullied in school.
Of the four regions of the country identified, the Midwest had the highest percentage of students reporting bullying behavior at 23.5%. Over 15% of those who reported being bullied said it happened online or through texts.
Other studies suggest that the percentages of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime has doubled from 18% to 35% between 2007 and 2016 (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016; Cyberbullying Research Center, 2019), suggesting this is a growing concern schools face.
Who Gets Bullied?
In the greater Kansas City area, the incidence of bullying and cyberbullying are high and alarming.
- 24.8% of kids in the Total Service Area (TSA) including Clay, Jackson, Johnson and Wyandotte Counties reported being bullied; and 11.7% reported being cyberbullied.
- 6 out of 10 Kansas City teens say they witness bullying in school every day.
- 20.1% of TSA parents responded that their 13-17 years old were cyberbullied in the past year.
- Girls were more frequently reported as the targets of cyberbullying.
21.9% reported being bullied;
12% reported being cyberbullied.
23.5% reported being bullied;
11.7% reported being cyberbullied.
26.9% reported being bullied;
11.3% reported being cyberbullied.
23% reported being bullied;
13% reported being cyberbullied.
- 2018 PRC Child & Adolescent Health Survey, Professional Research Consultants, Inc. [Items 74-75]
- 2017 PRC National Child & Adolescent Health Survey, Professional Research Consultants, Inc.
- Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying Executive Summary
- Asked of those respondents for whom the randomly selected child in the household is age 5 to 17.
- Cyberbullying includes electronic bullying such as through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting.
In Kansas schools, survey data provided by the Kansas Communities That Cares Survey (KCTC, 2018), suggests that 55.7% of 6th graders, 63.3% of 8th graders, 60.4% of 10th graders, and 59.7% of 12th graders self-reported having seen someone being bullied. Overall, 27.3% of Kansas students completing the survey in 6th – 12th grades reported being bullied at school, with 17.9% indicating it was in the form of cyberbullying.
According to the 2019 Kansas High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey:
- 17.2% of students were electronically bullied, which includes texting, Instagram, Facebook or other social media during the 12 months before the survey.
- 21.1% of students reported being bullied on school property during the 12 months before the survey.
Results from the 2017 Missouri Youth Risk Behavior Survey and 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey showed:
- 31.4% of middle school students and 23.3% of high school students were bullied on school property during the past 12 months.
- 16.8% of middle school students and 19.4% of high school students were electronically bullied through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites or texting.
Results from the 2019 Missouri High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated:
- 21% of students reported being bullied on school property during the 12 months before the survey.
- 18.1% of students were electronically bullied, which includes texting, Instagram, Facebook or other social media during the 12 months before the survey.
The 2017 School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported:
- Bullying is not gender specific. Of more than 24 million students surveyed, 50.9% of boys and 49.1% of girls reported being bullied.
- Middle schoolers are most often bullied. Sixth graders reported 29.5% of students were bullied, seventh grade was 24.4%, and eighth grade was 25.3%.
- Household income was also a factor in whether a child was bullied at school. Students whose household incomes were less than $34,999 reported bullying at school over 21%.
Where Bullying Occurs
- 43.4% Hallway or stairwell
- 42.2% Classroom
- 26.8% Cafeteria
- 21.9% Outside on school grounds
- 15.3% Online or text
- 12.1% Bathroom or locker room
- 2.1% Somewhere else in the school building
Why Bullying Has to Stop!
According to the 2017 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey:
- 24.8% of kids who had been bullied felt sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row.
According to the Health Risk Behaviors Among Missouri Middle and High School Students:
- 33.8% of females who were bullied felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row during the past 12 months that they stopped doing some usual activities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and poor school adjustment.
- Students who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems and violence later in adolescence and adulthood.
- Compared to students who only bully, or who are only victims, students who do both suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems.
- Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Gini and Pozzoli, 2013).
- Youth victimized by their peers were 2.2 times more likely to have suicide ideation and 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide than students not facing victimization (Gini & Espelage, 2014).
- Students who are both bullied and engage in bullying behavior are the highest risk group for adverse outcomes (Espelage and Holt, 2013).
- There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationship is often mediated by other factors, including depression, violent behavior and substance abuse (Reed, Nugent, & Cooper, 2015).