U.S. high school students are 31 times more likely to bring a gun or knife to school if they’ve been bullied, according to a new study.
Researchers reviewed surveys from more than 15,000 high school students collected in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"With estimates of more than 200,000 victims of bullying carrying a weapon to high school, more effective prevention efforts and intervention strategies need to be identified," said principal investigator Dr. Lana Schapiro. "The greatest focus should not just be on bullies, but on the victims of bullies most likely to carry a weapon and potentially use deadly force if threatened."
Almost 9 percent of those being bullied reported they had brought a weapon to school in the past, compared to less than 5 percent on non-bullied kids.
"Victims of bullying who have been threatened, engaged in a fight, injured or had property stolen or damaged are much more likely to carry a gun or knife to school," said study senior author Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.
Bullied teens also report skipping class because they felt unsafe either at school or on their way to school.
"Tragedies like the Columbine High School massacre have alerted educators and the public to the grave potential for premeditated violence not just by bullies, but by their victims as well," Adesman said in a release.