Has your child encountered a bully? School bullying can vary in severity from name-calling to violence. This article contains statistics on bullies. Keep reading to find more facts about school bullying and what you can do to prevent bullying.

School bullying can involve a number of different behaviors, from verbal (such as threatening, teasing, name-calling, making sexual remarks, spreading rumors, or bad-mouthing someone) to disrespecting personal property (such as stealing or damaging possessions) to violence (such as hitting or otherwise harming).

Bullying includes these behaviors and related behaviors in which a person or group repeatedly harasses someone. School bullying can be psychological, emotional, social, or physical. A recent change in bullying is the use of cyberbullying, i.e., using e-mails, instant messaging, text messages, web pages, blogs, chat rooms, etc. to engage in bullying behaviors. Teachers and parents, as well as students, can be targets of bullying behavior.

What are the facts about school bullying? Here are some statistics that reveal more about the situation in recent years. 

  • Reports of school bullying increased in most grades from 6-12 from 1999 to 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Justice report from 2005. It is not clear whether the figures reflect an increase in bullying behavior or better reporting. 
  • Student bullying is among the most often reported discipline problems at all levels of K-12 schools according to a 2005 report from the U.S. Department of Justice reflecting data from 1999-2000: 
    • It is reported in 26 % of elementary schools, 43% of middle schools, and 25% of high schools. 
    • In elementary schools, school bullying was reported more than twice as frequently as gang activity, more than eight times for frequently than student racial tension, and more than ten times for frequently than cult or extremist group activities. 
    • In middle school, school bullying was reported about 1.5 times more often than gang activities, about 3.5 times more often than cult or extremist group activities, and about 7.5 times more often than student racial tension. 
    • In high school, gang activities were the chief disciplinary issue, with student bullying second and cult or extremist group activities third. Gang activities made up about 37% of the reported discipline problems. 
  • Perhaps because fear results from other factors that have decreased, as well as from concern about bullying, there has been a decrease in fear at or on the way to school from 1995 to 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This is true for white, Black, and Hispanic, as well as students of other races and ethnicities. 
  • Most policy concerning school bullying is set at the local level, either by the school district or by a state's department of education, rather than by the federal government. There is, however, a national campaign to prevent bullying that was launched in 2003 by the Health Resources and Service Administration's (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 
  • HRSA reports a 2005 study of cyberbullying that concludes: 
    • 18% of students in grades 6-8 were cyberbullied at least once in that last few months. 
    • 11% of students in grades 6-8 said they had cyberbullied another person at least once in the last few months. 
    • It was about twice as likely to find girls as boys as both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying. 
    • 62% of cyberbullying was done by “another student at school.” 
    • Another 2005 study reports that cyberbullying differs from other bullying in several significant ways: 
      • It can occur at any time of the day or night. 
      • Messages can be distributed to a large number of people in a short time. 
      • The cyberspace bully can remain anonymous and be more difficult (or impossible) to trace.

School Bullying Sources

  • youthviolence.edschool.virginia.edu
  • stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov
  • thechallenge.org