Sharp drop seen in children’s bullying

Carol’s summary:

Here’s some good news:  A national survey funded by the Department of Justice reports that the percentage of students being “physically bullied over the past year had declined from nearly 22 percent in 2003 to under 15 percent in 2008,”and anti-bullying programs are credited for the improvement.  To continue this trend, programs need to be put in place nationwide that not only intervene before problems begin, but proactively reduce bullying by giving kids the tools they need to manage strong emotions and learn conflict resolution skills. 

Right now my staff is in the process of tabulating results from schools using our PEOPLE SMARTS program, which helps students develop emotional intelligence. Our results show that schools have experienced a reduction in the number of children who say they’re being bullied, and equally encouraging, more students say they stand up for someone and themselves who is the victim or physical or verbal abuse. Our data also shows that students in the PEOPLE SMARTS program experience better relationships with their siblings after taking the class (on the pre-assessment, 35.3% reported they “get along well with their siblings;” and the POST-assessment 50.1% reported that they do), a finding which is significant since bullying behavior is often learned at home where many children report being bullied by their brothers or sisters. 

While anti-bullying programs play an important role in our nation’s goal to curb aggressive behavior, programs that help students build stronger communication, emotional, and social skills as a prevention strategy, can make the greatest impact. If you would like to receive a review copy of our PEOPLE SMARTS book, or any of our other resources, call us toll free at 1.877.737.8510 or email

How can we do a better job of being preemptive so that students have the self-awareness and communication skills to stand up for respectful behavior? How can parents, teacher, and counselors get on the same page to use the language of emotional intelligence so that students are getting these principles reinforced in every sphere of life?

How can districts effectively collect and use the data to measure the results of these programs?  


March 3, 2010

Associated Press

NEW YORK – There’s been a sharp drop in the percentage of America’s children being bullied or beaten up by their peers, according to a new national survey by experts who believe anti-bullying programs are having an impact.

The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, found that the percentage of children who reported being physically bullied over the past year had declined from nearly 22 percent in 2003 to under 15 percent in 2008. The percentage reporting they’d been assaulted by other youths, including their siblings, dropped from 45 percent to 38.4 percent.

The lead author of the study, Professor David Finkelhor, said he was “very encouraged.”

“Bullying is the foundation on which a lot of subsequent aggressive behavior gets built,” said Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center. “If it’s going down, we will reap benefits in the future in the form of lower rates of violent crime and spousal assault.”

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