National Statistics on Bullying
28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.2
20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.15
Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.3
70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.3
70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.3
When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.16
9% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.2
15% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.16
However, 55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.17
How Often Bullied
In one large study, about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time.
Defining “frequent” involvement in bullying as occurring two or more times within the past month, 40.6% of students reported some type of frequent involvement in bullying, with 23.2% being the youth frequently bullied, 8.0% being the youth who frequently bullied others, and 9.4% playing both roles frequently.3
Types of Bullying
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%).3
Where Bullying Occurs
Most bullying takes place in school, outside on school grounds, and on the school bus. Bullying also happens wherever kids gather in the community. And of course, cyberbullying occurs on cell phones and online.
According to one large study, the following percentages of middle schools 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%).3
How Often Adult Notified
Only about 20 to 30% of students who are bullied notify adults about the bullying.
Learn more about laws related to bullying.
1 Gladden, R. M., Vivolo-Kantor, A. M., Hamburger, M. E., & Lumpkin, C. D. (2014). Bullying surveillance among youths: Uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements, Version 1.0. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Department of Education..
2 National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement , 2011.
3 Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 361-382.
4 Espelage, D. L., Holt, M. K., & Henkel, R. R. (2003). Examination of peer-group contextual effects on aggression during early adolescence. Child Development, 74, 205-220.
5 Bradshaw, C.P., O’Brennan, L. & Sawyer, A.L. (2008). Examining variation in attitudes toward aggressive retaliation and perceptions of safety among bullies, victims, and bully/victims. Professional School Counseling, 12(1), 10-21.
6American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force. (2008). Are zero tolerance policies effective in the schools? An evidentiary review and recommendations. American Psychologist, 63(9), 852-862.
7Espelage, D.L., Green, H.D., & Polanin, J. (2012). Willingness to intervene in bullying episodes among middle school students: Individual and peer-group influences. Journal of Early Adolescence, 32(6), 776-801.
8Farrington, D. P. & Ttofi, M. M. (2009). School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 6.
9Boccanfuso C. & Kuhfeld M. (2011). Multiple responses, promising results: evidence-based nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance. Child Trends. http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2011_03_01_RB_AltToZeroTolerance.pdf. Published 2011. Last accessed September 2012.
10Waasdorp, T. E., Bradshaw, C. P. & Duong, J. (2011). The link between parents’ perceptions of the school and their responses to school bullying: Variation by child characteristics and the forms of victimization. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(2), 324-335.
11Waasdorp, T. E., Bradshaw, C. P., & Leaf, P. J. (2012). The impact of School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) on bullying and peer rejection: A randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 116(2), 149-156.
12Polanin, J., Espelage, D.L., & Pigott, T.D. (2012). A meta-analysis of school-based bullying prevention programs’ effects on bystander intervention behavior and empathy attitude. School Psychology Review, 41 (1).
13Ttofi, M.M., Farrington, D.P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: a systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology,7(1), 27-56.
14Waasdorp, T. E., Bradshaw, C. P., & Leaf, P. J. (2012). The impact of School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) on bullying and peer rejection: A randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 116(2), 149-156.
15Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2013
16Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D., and Craig, W. M. (2001). Peer interventions in playground bullying. Social Development, 10, 512-527.
17 Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.
18Robinson, J.P., & Espelage, D.L. (2012). Bullying Explains Only Part of LGBTQ–Heterosexual
Risk Disparities: Implications for Policy and Practice. Educational Researcher, 41, 309-319