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50% of H.S. Students Admit Bullying

Half of U.S. high school students say they’ve bullied someone in the past year, nearly half (47%) say they were bullied, and more than half (52%) say they hit a person within the past year because they were angry.

These alarming bullying and violence trends are reported in the largest study ever undertaken of high school student behavior and attitudes, conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics. The study reports responses from 43,321 students and has a margin of error less than 1%.

In addition, one-third of high school students (33%) say violence is a big problem at their school and one in four (24%) say they do not feel very safe at school. Ten percent say they took a weapon to school at least once in the past 12 months, and 16 percent admit that they have been intoxicated at school.

"The combination of bullying, a penchant toward violence when one is angry, the availability of weapons, and the possibility of intoxication at school increases significantly the likelihood of retaliatory violence," says Michael Josephson, founder and president of the Institute.

“Insults, name calling, relentless teasing, and malicious gossip often inflict deep and enduring pain," Josephson adds. "It's not only the prevalence of bullying behavior and victimization that's troublesome. The Internet has intensified the injury. What's posted on the Internet is permanent, and it spreads like a virus — there is no refuge. The difference between the impact of bullying today versus 20 years ago is the difference between getting into a fist fight and using a gun."

The Institute provides parents with three free, online surveys to help determine whether their child is being bullied, whether their child is a bully, and whether they are doing all they can to prevent bullying.

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