Appearance reported by students as top reason for bullying; experiences vary by gender identity
There are slight differences in students’ experiences with bullying across gender identities, according to a new YouthTruth survey of over 180,000 students in grades 5-12. While 1 in 4 students overall report being bullied, 44% of those who feel male or female pronouns don’t represent them say they have experienced verbal, social, physical, or online bullying.
Released Tuesday by YouthTruth, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that focuses on gathering student feedback on a range of education issues, the bullying data shows that despite growing attention to cyberbullying, most students say they still experience bullying in person — with 73% reporting verbal bullying, 54% saying they were bullied socially, 28% saying physically and 23% saying they experienced cyberbullying.
Students also reported that their appearance was the most common reason why they were bullied, with other reasons including race or color (17%), because other students thought they were gay (15%), and their parents’ income (12%).
YouthTruth notes that the survey results are consistent with past studies on bullying, but that the data on reasons why students say they are bullied can help educators implement prevention efforts.
“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,” Jen Wilka, YouthTruth’s executive director, said in a statement. “All students have the right to feel safe at school. We hope that this data helps to spark conversations and inform anti-bullying efforts.”
As schools increase efforts to implement social-emotional learning programs, administrators can also use surveys such as these and youth risk behavior data to identify which students might be at a higher risk for depression, substance use, to be victims of violence or to perpetrate violence on other students.
In 2013, the American Educational Research Association released a task force report that reviews the research on bullying and gives schools multiple strategies for preventing and responding to bullying, particularly among “vulnerable populations.”
- YouthTruth Youth Truth Student Survey
Follow Linda Jacobson on Twitter