Maggie: We all know that bullying is a widespread problem in our schools. But even with increased awareness and programs to fight it, the number of victims continues to grow. And now a new report shows that the way some victims are handling it is as worrisome as the problem itself. Shelby Holliday has the story.
Student: All of this name calling and pushing made me feel horrible.
Shelby: Bullying impacts schools and students across the country.
Student: I’ve been called so many different names, it’s unbelievable. I’ve been called fat, ugly, stupid…
Shelby: And despite school programs and outreach events, studies suggest that bullying in American schools is on the rise.
Andre Kar: I think people don’t really realize how real it is until you actually see it for yourself.
Shelby: One new report out analyzes a detailed survey of more than 15,000 high school students who were asked questions about bullying. The survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, found that 20% of those high school students reported being victims of bullying within the last 12 months. But what is more troubling to researchers is that some bullied students are bringing dangerous weapons to class.
Sixteen-year-old Lisa Lovolos brought a paring knife to her school in Philadelphia after months of being bullied.
Lisa Lovolos: I knew I was wrong to have it but, I mean, I felt like I needed something to protect myself.
Shelby: Lisa was arrested and suspended for five days. But she is not the only one violating school rules.
Dr. Andrew Adesman: They’re telling us that there’s practically one child in every classroom that is carrying a weapon.
Shelby: After taking a closer look at the survey, researchers estimate that about 200,000 bullied high school students are bringing weapons like knives, guns and clubs to school. And they say that being bullied increases a kid’s chances of carrying weapons.
Of the 20% of high school students who said they have been bullied, 8.6% say they have carried a weapon to school compared to 4.7% of students who said they haven’t been bullied.
Researchers also found four risk factors related to bullying that boost that number even higher. If a student skips school because of immediate concerns about their safety, have had their property stolen or damaged, have been threatened with or injured with a weapon in school, and has been in a physical fight, they are 31 times more likely to bring a weapon to school.
Dr. Adesman: This is a group that’s not only traumatized psychologically and they worry for themselves physically, but they also pose a threat to the rest of the student body.
Shelby: Researchers say that they hope the new report will help teachers, principals and parents do a better job of dealing with school bullies and their victims to make sure the bullying doesn’t lead to more violence.
Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.
Maggie: If you or someone you know needs help with bullying, head to ChannelOne.com.