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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007
NCES 2008-021
December 2007

Indicator 11: Bullying at School

In 2005, about 28 percent of 12- to 18-year-old students reported having been bullied at school during the last 6 months.

Both bullying and being bullied at school are associated with key violence-related behaviors, including carrying weapons, fighting, and sustaining injuries from fighting (Nansel et al. 2003). In the 2005 School Crime Supplement19 to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12–18 were asked if they had been bullied at school during the previous 6 months.20

In 2005, about 28 percent of students reported having been bullied at school during the last 6 months (figure 11.1 and table 11.1). Nineteen percent of students said that they had experienced bullying that consisted of being made fun of; 15 percent reported being the subject of rumors; and 9 percent said that they were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (figure 11.2 and table 11.1). Of those students who had been bullied, 79 percent said that they were bullied inside the school, and 28 percent said that they were bullied outside on school grounds (figure 11.2 and table 11.2). Of the students in 2005 who reported being bullied during the previous 6 months, 53 percent said that they had been bullied once or twice during that period, 25 percent had experienced bullying once or twice a month, 11 percent reported being bullied once or twice a week, and 8 percent said that they had been bullied almost daily (table 11.3).

White and Black students (30 and 29 percent) were more likely than Hispanic students to report being bullied in 2005 (22 percent; table 11.1). White students were also more likely than students of Other racial/ethnic groups to report being bullied (30 vs. 25 percent), and to report that they were the subject of rumors than were Hispanic students and students of Other racial/ethnic groups (16 vs. 12 percent).

In general, grade level was inversely related to students' likelihood of being bullied: as grade level increased, students' likelihood of being bullied decreased (table 11.1). In 2005, about 37 percent of 6th-graders, 28 percent of 9th-graders, and 20 percent of 12th-graders reported that they had been bullied at school. Students in public schools were more likely to report bullying incidents than were their private school counterparts (29 vs. 23 percent).

Of those students who reported bullying incidents that involved being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (9 percent), 24 percent reported that they had sustained an injury21 as a result (table 11.2). While no measurable differences were found by sex in students' likelihood of reporting a bullying incident in 2005, among students who reported being bullied, males were more likely than females to report being injured during such an incident (31 vs. 18 percent).


19 In 2005, the unit response rate for this survey did not meet NCES statistical standards; therefore, interpret the data with caution. For more information, please see appendix A PDF File (178 KB).
20 In 2005, the questionnaire wording for the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey was modified with regard to bullying. In the 1999, 2001, and 2003 surveys, students were simply asked whether they had been bullied in the previous 6 months, while the 2005 iteration posed a series of questions on bullying and provided respondents with more examples of bullying behavior. Bullying includes being made fun of; subject of rumors; threatened with harm; pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; pressured into doing things did not want to do; excluded; or property destroyed on purpose.
21 Injury includes bruises or swelling; cuts, scratches, or scrapes; black eye or bloody nose; teeth chipped or knocked out; broken bones or internal injuries; knocked unconscious; or other injuries.

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