More Facts About the Problem

Visible Mistreatment (Violence):

  • In 2003, there were 154,200 serious violent crimes - rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault (855 average each day), 584,500 simple assaults (3250 average each day), and 1,191,400 thefts reported (6620 average each day). Jill DeVoe, Katharin Peter, Margaret Noonan, Thomas Snyder, and Katrina Baum, Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2005 (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC, 2005), Table 2.1 page 72
  • 33% of high school students during 2003 were in a fight at least once in the 12 months preceding the survey, and 13% were in a fight on school property (DeVoe, et al. 2005. page 42)
  • During the period 1999-2003, there were an average of 4.7 million teachers. Of that number, each year: 118,800 had their property stolen (660 per day); 57,200 were assaulted (315 per day); and 7,400 were victims of serious violent crime (rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) (40 per day) (DeVoe, et al 2005. Table 5.1)
  • 3,451,000 teachers 1998-2000. 304,900 (8.8%) reported that they were threatened with injury by a student during the previous 12 months (almost 1700 each day). (DeVoe, et al 2005. Table 6.1)
  • 3.9% (134,800) teachers reported they were physically attacked by a student during the previous 12 months (750/day). 1998-2000. 3,451,000 teachers. (DeVoe, et al 2005. Table 6.2)


  • In a 2001 landmark study involving more than 15,000 students in grades 6-10, roughly 30 percent of students were involved in bullying: 10 percent reported that they had been bullied, 13 percent reported that they had bullied others, and 6 percent reported that they had been bullied and had bullied others. [Nansel TR, Overpeck M, Pilla RS, Ruan WJ, Simons-Morton B, Scheidt P. Bullying behaviors among US youth: prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association 2001;285(16):2094-2100.]
  • A 2003 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated that approximately 22 percent of students surveyed had been bullied during the school term and over 4 percent reported that the bullying had occurred once a week or more. In the same report, 31 percent of the students responded that sometimes they had taken part in bullying, with over 5 percent reporting that they’d participated in this behavior once a week or more.  [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Teens in Our World (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003), on line at “Chapter 6”]

Other Forms of Mistreatment

Bullying is a very specific term that is often used to encompass many different behaviors that all fall under the umbrella of “mistreatment.” To more clearly understand the kinds of mistreatment students experience, it is helpful to examine some of the other research. For example:

  • One third of nearly 70,000 students in grades 6-12 who participated in the first national Students Speak Survey agreed with the statement “students say things to hurt or insult me.” [National Center for Student Aspirations, The Students Speak Survey (College of Education and Human Development, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, 2001), The reference is in a compilation of school safety research maintained by the National School Safety Center, pages 7-8.
  • In a 5-year study of a diverse group of nearly 1,900 students in grades 8-12, 67 percent reported that they were left out of activities (43 percent sometimes and 24 percent often); 74 percent reported that they had been called names (47 percent sometimes and 27 percent often); 62 percent reported being teased (45 percent sometimes and 17 percent often); 46 percent reported being hit or kicked (35 percent sometimes and 11 percent often); and 42 percent reported being threatened (33 percent sometimes and 9 percent often). [Sandra Harris, “Bullying at School Among Older Adolescents,” The Prevention Researcher, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2004, pp. 12-14.]
  • In a 2002 study by the Families and Work Institute, 66 percent of youth said they had “been teased or gossiped about in a mean way at least once in the last month, and 25 percent have had this experience five times or more. Over half (57 percent)” said they had “teased or gossiped about someone at least once, and 12 percent had done so five times or more in the past month.” [Ellen Galinsky and Kimberlee Salmond, Youth & Violence: Students Speak Out for a More Civil Society, Summary and Discussion Guide (Families and Work Institute, New York, NY, 2002), p. 2]
  • A 2002 survey sponsored by the National Mental Health Association revealed that 78 percent of all teens report “that kids who are gay or thought to be gay are teased or bullied in their schools and communities. More than nine out of ten teens (93 percent) hear other kids at school or in their neighborhood use words like “fag,” “homo,” “dyke,” “queer,” or “gay” at least once in a while.” [“National Survey of Teens Shows Anti-Gay Bullying Common in Schools,” National Mental Health Association press release, December 12, 2002.]
  • The landmark 1993 study on sexual harassment commissioned by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) was updated in 2001, and showed remarkably little change. Based on data from more than 2000 students in 8th – 11th grade, the report revealed that 83 percent of girls have been sexually harassed, 79 percent of boys have been sexually harassed, and 85 percent of students report that other students are the perpetrators. [Hostile Hallways: Bullying, Teasing, and Sexual Harassment in School. Published by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 1111 Sixteenth St. N.W. Washington, DC 20036, © 2001 page 4 for first two stats; page 5 for last stat (85%). Researched by Harris Interactive. New York, NY
  • A 2003 U.S. Department of Education study found that 10 percent of all 6th graders and 6 percent of all 8th graders feared attack at school or on the way to or from school, some of all of the time. [DeVoe, et. al., Table 17.1]

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