- Bullying rates are on the rise nationwide, but a recent YouthTruth survey details how a Washington state middle school experienced a decrease in bullying incidents after targeted intervention efforts.
- After an earlier survey revealed a dramatic increase in the number of students being bullied at Quincy Junior High School, from a steady 28% to 46%, the school identified bullying as a "priority for change."
- After administering annual climate surveys, poring over the findings in staff meetings to create common understanding of the issue, and launching an anti-bullying initiative that included a two-day lesson plan for students and teachers schoolwide, the percentage reporting bullying fell from 46% to 36%.
According to recent numbers released by YouthTruth, 33% of students — or 1 in 3 — reported that they had experienced bullying in the 2017-18 school year, and far more middle school students reported being bullied than those in high school. This also marks a 5% increase since 2015-16, when the number was at 28%.
Key findings suggest the top three reasons victims believe they are bullied include their appearance (44%), race or skin color (17%) and sexual orientation (15%).
Following the significant increase in bullying at Quincy Junior High School, staff surveyed students once more to identify where, when and what kind of bullying was taking place (i.e. Was it verbally in the bus during morning transit or physically in the bathrooms during lunch?). Following the results of the climate survey, targeted interventions including lesson plans and day-long programs were put into place.
Quincy Principal Scott Ramsey said placing anti-bullying messages on the walls and getting the students involved in addressing the problem went a long way in setting the tone for the conversation and made the effort successful. In Quincy's case, an anti-bullying video made by an after-school club and featuring students allowed for more student buy-in.
"While adults are working on addressing the problem, students should have information on what is happening and what it looks like and should have information on how to help it," Ramsey says. "Students taking the lead on it created a lot more buy-in and created ownership for them."