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Victimization and Bullying at School

Student bullying and cyber-bullying are areas of concern for school authorities, as bullying10 behavior may be associated with more significant events of criminal victimization and offending behavior (Nansel et al. 2001). The 2009 SCS asked students whether they were bullied by traditional means at school11 or by electronic means anywhere12 (cyber-bullied) in the 2008–09 school year.

The findings show that in school year 2008–09, a higher percentage of students who reported being the victim of any crime at school also reported being bullied by traditional means at school than did student nonvictims (63.5 percent vs. 26.6 percent) (figure 2 and table 4). Furthermore, 52.3 percent of student victims of theft and 92.5 percent of victims of violence also reported traditional bullying at school, compared to 26.6 percent of student nonvictims.

About 19.8 percent of students who reported being the victim of any crime also reported being bullied by electronic means anywhere, compared to 5.5 percent of student nonvictims (figure 2 and table 4). Similarly, 16.8 percent of student victims of theft and 28.1 percent of victims of violence reported bullying by electronic means anywhere, compared to 5.5 percent of student nonvictims.


10 Readers may suspect that students who report bullying in the form of more overt physical attacks may be reporting many of the same instances in their reports of criminal victimization; meaning that any relationship between the percentages of bullied students who are also victims of crime may be an artifact of double counting the bullying event as a criminal victimization. However, these two concepts are addressed quite differently during data collection for the NCVS and SCS. For example, in the NCVS, detailed information from a screener questionnaire and incident report are used to determine whether a crime has been committed and the type of crime. In the SCS, students self-determine bullying based on reports of several types of behavior. Although it is possible that students include victimizations that they reported previously in the NCVS screener and incident reports when responding to the SCS bullying items, it is not possible to make this distinction given the SCS questionnaire wording. As a result, they are reported as distinct events in this report.
11 Traditional bullying includes bullying by a peer that occurred at school. Students were asked whether another student had made fun of them, called them names, or insulted them; spread rumors about them; threatened them with harm; pushed or shoved them; forced them to do something they did not want to do; excluded them from activities; or destroyed their property. Students who indicated they were bullied in one or more of these ways were considered "bullied by traditional means at school." 12 Electronic bullying includes bullying by a peer that occurred anywhere via electronic means, including the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging, online gaming, and online communities. Students who indicated they were bullied in one or more of these ways were considered "bullied by electronic means anywhere."


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