How a Washington Middle School Curbed Bullying Rates

Picture of Tara Gibson By Tara Gibson

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girl being bulliedBullying and cyberbullying have been prevalent in K-12 schools and districts for years. Although some would hope bullying rates had dropped with the increase of awareness, that is unfortunately not the case. Bullying and cyberbullying events have actually stayed relatively the same in the past few years, which is why school communities are ramping up their efforts to address, prevent, and stop bullying in schools. Many students are also reluctant to come forward, which means the rates of bullying could be higher than many think.

The Latest in Bullying Statistics

Unfortunately, most bullying happens in middle schools. Below are a few shocking statistics from StopBullying.Gov:

  • The 2017 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice) indicates that, nationwide, about 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying.
  • Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys
  • 6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
  • When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time
  • The most common types of bullying are verbal and social. Physical bullying happens less often. Cyberbullying happens the least frequently.
  • According to one large study, the following percentages of middle schools students had experienced these various types of bullying: name calling (44.2 %); teasing (43.3 %); spreading rumors or lies (36.3%); pushing or shoving (32.4%); hitting, slapping, or kicking (29.2%); leaving out (28.5%); threatening (27.4%); stealing belongings (27.3%); sexual comments or gestures (23.7%); e-mail or blogging (9.9%)
  • According to one large study, the following percentages of middle school students had experienced bullying in these various places at school: classroom (29.3%); hallway or lockers (29.0%); cafeteria (23.4%); gym or PE class (19.5%); bathroom (12.2%); playground or recess (6.2%)
  • Only about 20 to 30% of students who are bullied notify adults about the bullying

Related Blog: The Latest Bullying in K-12 Statistics

How this Middle School Curbed Bullying

After three years of surveying their students, the Quincy Junior High School in Washington saw a dramatic increase of bullying and their Principal Scott Ramsay explained, “This was not data that could be ignored”, according to YouthTruth. The percentage of students who had experienced bullying in school jumped from 28% to a shocking 46% in just 3 years. Because of this, the school identified bullying prevention as a priority and were motivated to make a change.

What Did They Do?

The school did three things to address the large increase of bullying incidents:

  1. Gathered Data
    This middle school annually sends out a survey to their students that include questions about peer belonging and bullying. The data and feedback made it possible for staff to recognize the increase in bullying incidents according to YouthTruth. Some of the survey questions included the following:
    • What type of bullying is happening?
    • Where is the bullying occurring?
    • Who is it happening to? (Who is the victim?)
    • Who is doing the bullying?
  2. Reflected on Their Findings
    Each year a Quincy Junior High School team would look at the survey results and unpack these findings together in staff meetings. YouthTruth explains, “The data helped create a common understanding of the problem. In response to year three data, they launched an anti-bullying initiative, including a two-day lesson plan that engaged students and teachers across the whole school.”
  3. Engaged Students
    With the use of the two-day lesson plan, educators inspired students across all classes to reduce bullying as a whole. Quincy Principal Scott Ramsey also said, “placing anti-bullying messages on the walls and getting the students involved in addressing the problem went a long way in setting the tone for the conversation and made the effort successful”, according to Education Dive. The 8th grade class also created a video that was featured by a local news station. See below:


How Can Your School Address Bullying?

K-12 schools and districts are continually looking for innovative ways to prevent and address bullying and cyberbullying. A valuable tool for some schools is an anonymous two-way tip texting system, which allows students to report any bullying events anonymously to the appropriate school administrator.

Students can be reluctant to report bullying of either themselves or somebody else. Bullying No Way explains, “Research has found that students often do not report bullying because they fear not being believed or not having their concerns appropriately and thoughtfully addressed by relevant adults”. Having a technology in place that allows for anonymity and directs reports of bullying to a teacher or administrator is extremely useful, and students will likely feel more comfortable coming forward.

Want to learn more?

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Written by Tara Gibson

Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12 education, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!

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