Download & Other Tools
- Definition: Percentage of students in grades 7, 9, 11, and non-traditional students reporting the number of times in the past 12 months they have been bullied at school because because of their sexual orientation, by gender.
- Data Source: California Department of Education, California Healthy Kids Survey (WestEd).
- Footnote: Data are presented in periods of two school years combined (e.g., 2008-2010 reflects data from school years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010). The grade levels included in school district-level data depend on the grades offered in each school district; for example, high school districts do not include 7th grade data. "Non-traditional" students are those enrolled in Community Day Schools or Continuation Education. According to EdSource, more than 10% of public school students in California are enrolled in these programs. N/A indicates that the survey was not administered in that period or that data are not available for that group. LNE indicates that for a specific answer there were fewer than 20 respondents.
- Measures of Bullying and Harassment at School on Kidsdata.org
On kidsdata.org, measures of harassment and bullying come from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) through a partnership with WestEd, which developed and administers the CHKS, and the California Department of Education. Indicators include: student reports of having been bullied on school property in the past year for any reason or for any bias-related reason (i.e., on the basis of gender, race/ethnicity or national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or a disability). In addition, kidsdata.org offers data on student reports of being bullied or harassed based on their disability, gender, race or national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or any other non-specified reason, each as separate indicators. These data are available by grade level (7th, 9th, 11th, and non-traditional students), gender, race/ethnicity, and level of connectedness to school. School connectedness is a summary measure that includes the following elements: being treated fairly, feeling close to people, feeling happy, feeling part of school, and feeling safe at school.
- Bullying and Harassment at School
- Any Reason For Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Any Bias-Related Reason For Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Disability as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Gender as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Race or National Origin as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Religion as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Sexual Orientation as Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Other Non-Specified Reason for Bullying/Harassment, by Grade Level
- Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
- Alcohol Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Alcohol Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Alcohol Use (on School Property in Past Month), by Grade Level
- Alcohol Use (How Much Students Report Drinking), by Grade Level
- Binge Drinking in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Drinking and Driving or Riding with a Driver Who Had Been Drinking, by Grade Level
- Cigarette Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Cigarette Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Cigarette Use (on School Property in Past Month), by Grade Level
- Inhalant Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Marijuana Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Marijuana Use (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Marijuana Use (on School Property in Past Month), by Grade Level
- Marijuana or Other Drug Use (How High Students Report Getting), by Grade Level
- Recreational Use of Prescription Drugs (Lifetime), by Grade Level
- Alcohol or Other Drug Use in Past Month, by Grade Level
- Alcohol or Other Drug Use (on School Property in the Past Month), by Grade Level
- Community Connectedness
- Caring Adults in the Community, by Grade Level
- High Expectations from Adults in the Community, by Grade Level
- Meaningful Participation in the Community, by Grade Level
- Total Community Assets, by Grade Level
- Dating and Domestic Violence
- Disconnected Youth
- Emotional/Mental Health
- Pupil Support Service Personnel
- Juvenile Arrests
- School Safety
- Perceptions of School Safety, by Grade Level
- Fear of Being Beaten Up at School, by Grade Level
- Physical Fighting at School, by Grade Level
- Carrying a Gun at School, by Grade Level
- Carrying a Knife or Other Weapon at School, by Grade Level
- School Connectedness
- Caring Adults at School, by Grade Level
- High Expectations from Teachers and Others, by Grade Level
- Meaningful Participation at School, by Grade Level
- Total School Assets, by Grade Level
- School Connectedness, by Grade Level
- Truancy, Suspensions & Expulsions
- Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury
- Why This Topic Is Important
Bullying and harassment can have both short and long term harmful effects on children and youth (1, 2). In addition to the risk of physical injury, research shows that victims of bullying are at higher risk of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts than those not involved in or exposed to bullying (1). They also are more likely to experience physical health problems and difficulties with academic performance and school engagement (3). Any young person can be bullied, but certain groups may be particularly susceptible. For instance, according to a 2009 national survey of middle and high school students, 9 out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth reported experiencing some form of harassment at school the year before (4).
It is important to note that any involvement in bullying, either as a victim, witness, and/or as a bully, is related to negative outcomes (1, 2). In fact, youth who bully others also have increased rates of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts than those not involved in bullying behavior (1, 2). Bullies also are more likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs, engage in other risky behavior (e.g., early sexual activity), abuse others in intimate relationships, and engage in criminal activity as adults than non-bullies (3). Youth who witness frequent bullying, perhaps because of their social environment, also are at increased risk for alcohol and drug use, depression, or anxiety (3). Further, the fear of being bullied or harassed can cause extreme anxiety and disrupt a child’s ability to excel in school and life (3).
For more information on bullying and harassment at school see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources for this narrative:
1. Klomek, A. B., et al. (2007). Bullying, depression, and suicidality in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(1), 40-49.
2. Vanderbilt, D. & Augustyn, M. (2010). The effects of bullying. Paediatrics and Child Health, 20(7), 315–320.
3. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Stopbullying.gov. (nd). Effects of bullying. http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/effects/index.html
4. Kosciw, J. G., et al. (2010). The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York, NY: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2624.html?state=research&type=research
- How Children Are Faring
According to 2008-10 data, 42% of 7th graders, 35% of 9th graders, and 28% of 11th graders in California report being bullied or harassed at school at least once in the past year for any reason. The percentages of 7th grade girls and boys who reported being bullied at least once because of their race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or disability has increased slightly since 2004-06, though the patterns are not as clear for 9th and 11th graders.
When youth are bullied or harassed at school, the most common specific reason cited is because of their race or national origin, with 19% of 7th graders, 17% of 9th graders, and 14% of 11th graders in 2008-10 reporting at least one bullying incident in the past year for this reason. Among African American/Black students, 25% said they had been bullied due to their race at least once in the past year, followed by 24% of Asian American and 23% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students. Other reasons cited include sexual orientation (8-12% of students in grades 7, 9, and 11 citing one or more incidents at school in the past 12 months), gender (7-11%), religion (9-10%), disability (4-6%), and “any other reason” (15-27%).
Seventh- and ninth-graders in California reported more bullying or harassment than 11th graders and non-traditional students (those enrolled in Community Day Schools or continuation programs) in 2008-10. Students who report feeling less connected to their schools more often report being bullied or harassed.
- Policy Implications
Bullying and harassment at school have taken on new forms in recent years with the advent of digital technologies (1), and the issue has come under closer scrutiny by schools and policymakers (2). While some whole-school, systemic interventions (focusing on bullies, victims, and bystanders) have shown positive results, the majority of curriculum-based, anti-bullying programs have not been proven effective (3). Many schools have adopted “zero tolerance” discipline policies to address misbehavior, which actually may result in students feeling less safe than students at schools with more moderate discipline policies; the “zero tolerance” approaches also may deter reporting of misbehavior (4, 5). Although any student could be a victim, students who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, or who are perceived to be so, are at particularly high risk of being bullied or harassed (6).
According to research and subject experts, policy options that could improve school safety and prevent bullying and harassment include:
For more policy ideas and information, see the federal government’s StopBullying.gov, the California Department of Education, and the writings and presentations of Dan Olweus and Barbara Coloroso. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under School Connectedness, Pupil Support Services Personnel, and Truancy, Suspensions & Expulsions.
- Supporting well-implemented, age-specific, whole-school approaches to bullying prevention that involve multiple systems and methods, the entire school community, and long-term involvement by staff (3, 5)
- Instituting discipline policies that respond effectively to aggressors, victims, and bystanders, while avoiding unintended consequences of “zero tolerance” policies (4, 5)
- Crafting anti-bullying policies that increase the likelihood that victims will report bullying, rather than those that may inadvertently create a school culture that deters it (5, 7)
- Implementing a multi-pronged strategy of staff training, student support, information sharing, and public statements of policy to reduce harassment of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students (6)
Sources for this narrative:
1. Hertz, et al. (2008). Electronic media and youth violence: A CDC issue brief for educators and caregivers. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/EA-brief-a.pdf
2. New York Times Topics: Bullies. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/b/bullies/index.html
3. Vreeman, et al. (2007). A systematic review of school-based interventions to prevent bullying. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 161(1), 78-88. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/1/78
4. McNeeley, et al. (2002). Promoting school connectedness: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Journal of School Health, 72(4), 138-146. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12029810
5. Sampson, R. (2009). Bullying in schools. U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/files/RIC/Publications/e07063414-guide.pdf
6. O’Shaughnessy, et al. (2004). Safe place to learn: Consequences of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender non-conformity and steps for making schools safer. California Safe Schools Coalition and 4-H Center for Youth Development. http://www.casafeschools.org/SafePlacetoLearnLow.pdf
7. Petrosino, et al. (2010). What characteristics of bullying, bullying victims, and schools are associated with increased reporting of bullying to school officials? Regional Educational Laboratory for WestEd. http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/northeast/pdf/REL_2010092.pdf
- Websites with Related Information
- Adolescent Violence Prevention Knowledge Path, Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University
- Bullying, California Department of Education
- California Safe Schools Coalition
- Cyberbullying Research Center
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
- Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports: Effective Schoolwide Interventions, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
- School Connectedness, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- School Safety and Mentoring Guides, Hamilton Fish Institute, George Washington University
- Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- WestEd: Health, Safety, & Well-Being
- Youth Bullying, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Key Reports
- Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence, 4/2013, JAMA Psychiatry, Copeland, W. E., et al.
- Childhood Bullying Involvement Predicts Low-grade Systemic Inflammation Into Adulthood, 5/12/2014, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Copeland, W. E., et al.
- Electronic Media and Youth Violence: A CDC Issue Brief for Educators and Caregivers, 2008, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hertz & David-Ferdon
- Involved, Invisible, Ignored: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Parents and Their Children in Our Nations K-12 Schools, 2008, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Kosciw & Diaz
- Prevention of Bullying: Research Report and Recommendations, 2013, American Educational Research Association
- School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth, 2009, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Social and Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention, 11/2009, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
- The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools, 4/2014, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- County/Regional Reports
- 2014 Youth Wellbeing Report Card: Santa Monica, California, 2014, Cradle to Career Working Group
- Kern County Report Card, 2014, Kern County Network for Children
- The Developmental Assets Survey: Young People Talk About Growing Up in Silicon Valley, 2011, Project Cornerstone