Study Confirms Bullying is Widespread in Schools

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The study by the non-profit Josephson Institute of Ethics surveyed more than 40,000 high school students and has been conducted every other year since 1992 and found that half of high school students have bullied and nearly as many saying they have been the victims of bullying.

One-third of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school

Nearly one in four say they do not feel very safe there. The problem is much less pronounced at private schools, where the figures drop to less than 10 percent in those two categories.

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"Being bullied is not just an unpleasant rite of passage through childhood," said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the NICHD. "It's a public health problem that merits attention. People who were bullied as children are more likely to suffer from depression and low self esteem, well into adulthood, and the bullies themselves are more likely to engage in criminal behavior later in life."

It appeared that weapons was a large issue with 10 percent of all students saying they took a weapon to school at least once in the past 12 months, and 16 percent admitting that they have been intoxicated at school. More than half admit to hitting someone within the last year because they were upset.

Michael Josephson, founder and president of Josephson Institute of Ethics said, "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."

The study was released on the same day that the Obama administration issued new guidelines for educators on how to address the problem of bullying and harassment in schools. President Obama has called for greater awareness of the problem, saying the nation must "dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up."

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