FAU joint study reveals the scope of bullying in middle and high schools

The study was conducted alongside the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


Sameer Hinduja discusses his research on cyber bullying and good online etiquette to a school in North Palm Beach. Photo courtesy of Sameer Hinduja

Benjamin Paley, Contributing Writer

he years spent in middle and high school are often central to the physical and emotional growth of adolescents.

For some students, though, middle and high school can be a tough time. The culprit: bullying.

A recent joint study conducted by Florida Atlantic University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire showed how widespread bullying has become in both schools and online.

Sameer Hinduja, an FAU professor of criminology and criminal justice, and Justin W. Patchin, a professor of criminal justice at UW-EC, spearheaded the study.

According to an FAU release, the study “used a nationally-representative sample of 5,600 children between the ages of 12 to 17 years old to address various forms of bullying and cyberbullying, sexting and dating violence, as well as thoughts of suicide, deviant behavior, and resilience or coping mechanisms.”

The results of the study when it came to bullying in schools can be found below.

  • 73 percent of middle and high school students said that they had been bullied at school some time in their lives; 44 percent of those students said that they had been bullied at school within the last 30 days
  • 88 percent said they were called mean names or made fun or in harmful ways
  • 77 percent said they were excluded from peer groups or felt left out
  • 1 in 5 said that they had been threatened with a weapon at school
  • 32 percent of the students revealed that they had bullied another student at school sometime in their lives; 12 percent of those students said that they had bullied another classmate within the last 30 days
  • 20 percent of those students admitted that they had forced other students to do things they didn’t want to
  • Girls were more likely to be bullied at school while boys were more likely to have bullied other students

With more access to technology, students are now cyberbullying others over the internet and social media platforms.

  • 34 percent of students were cyber bullied at some time in their lifetime; 17 percent were cyberbullied within the last 30 days
  • 80 percent of students who said they cyber bullied admitted that means comments about them were posted online
  • 70 percent of students said that someone had spread a rumor about them online
  • 12 percent of students admitted that they had cyberbullied someone else in their lifetime
  • Girls were more likely to be bullied online; while boys were more likely to bully someone online

Hinduja believes that schools need to prioritize making sure that their students are developing their individual “level of resilience.”

“Overall, we’re trying to paint an updated, accurate picture of what teens these days are facing across our nation so as to underscore the critical importance of devoting additional resources and attention to this persistent problem, and inform schools exactly what they should focus on,” said Hinduja.

Benjamin Paley is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @benpaley92.