PHILADELPHIA --- Despite the common misperception that bullying at school
takes place only in unsupervised locations, new research suggests that the
classroom setting is one of the places where bullying is the biggest problem.
The study, which was presented at
the American Public Health Association’s 137th
Annual Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia, used anonymous online
surveys conducted with more than 10,000 middle school students to look at where bullying takes place within schools.
Students reported being victims of
many types of bullying behaviors. Within the most recent month, 43 percent had
been physically bullied; 51 percent teased in an unfriendly way; 50 percent
called hurtful names; 31 percent excluded from a group to hurt their feelings;
28 percent had belongings taken or broken; 39 percent had an unkind rumor
spread about them; and 21 percent were threatened to be hurt.
percent of the middle school students had been the victim of multiple bullying
behaviors during the last month. During the school year, 8 percent
had skipped school at least once due to fear of others hurting or making fun of
them. One out of every four students had skipped recess, not gone to the
bathroom, lunch or a class, pretended to be sick and went home, or avoided a
hallway or some other place at school to get away from a bully.
The researchers found that the
classroom, lunchroom and hallways at school were the places where victimization
was most prevalent (50 percent to 57 percent of all students in each of these
settings) compared to all other areas where prevalence of victims was much
lower (19 percent to 37 percent).
The researchers also found that
being bullied in the classroom as compared with being bullied in other areas of
the school was associated with a greater tendency among students to feel
threatened and unsafe at school.
“These findings show that it is
erroneous to think of the classroom as a safe haven from bullying and to think
that more remote or less monitored areas of school are necessarily the greatest
risk for students,” said H. Wesley Perkins, PhD, lead researcher on the study.