The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines bullying as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, nearly one in four students, or 22 percent, say that they've been bullied during each school year. Although bullying can happen to any child, some groups -- LGBT youth, youth with disabilities, and socially isolated youth -- may be at greater risk of being bullied. The Centers for Disease Control has characterized bullying as a public health problem due to its prevalence and its adverse impact on health and mental health.
The Impact of Bullying
Children who are bullied, who engage in bullying, or who observe the bullying of others experience a variety of problems. These problems include school engagement and academic achievement, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, maladjustment, and, in some cases, suicide-related behaviors.
Position Statement on Safe and Humane Schools
The health and well-being of young people is related to their engagement in their school community and to their experiences at school. Young people are more likely to thrive developmentally when they feel safe at school, when they are able to form positive relationships, and when they are encouraged to participate.
Following our symposium, A Place for Us: Toward Inclusive Communities for Children and Families, our task force on Safe and Humane Schools developed a position statement on the importance of the school environment to the success of young people. Our Spotlight features research in AJO on bullying.
- Does it Matter if Students Experience School as a Place of Community? American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2015, Vol. 85, No. 6 (Suppl), S79-S85.
- Can Policy Facilitate Human Capital Development? The Critical Role of Student and Family Engagement in Schools. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2013, Vol. 83, No. 2,3, 346-351.
- Keeping the Doors to the Community Open. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2010, Vol. 80, No. 4, 451-461.
Want to learn more?
What can you do?
- Learn how you can support your local schools and community organizations in bullying prevention efforts
- Model appropriate behavior based on kindness and respect
- Organize community groups to develop and implement a shared vision of a supportive, respectful community
- Advocate for bullying prevention policies and practices