1 in 5 bul­lied in US schools, sex as­sault re­ports triple

New Straits Times - - World -

WASH­ING­TON: One in ev­ery five mid­dle and high school stu­dents has com­plained of be­ing bul­lied at school, and the num­ber of re­ports of sex­ual as­sault on col­lege cam­puses has more than tripled over the past decade, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral study re­leased yes­ter­day.

“There are ar­eas of con­cern in terms of bul­ly­ing and rates of vic­tim­i­sa­tion be­ing high,” said Lau­ren Musu-Gil­lette, an au­thor of the re­port by the Na­tional Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion Sta­tis­tics and the Jus­tice De­part­ment.

“We are see­ing a long-term de­cline, but we want peo­ple to be pay­ing at­ten­tion to ar­eas where rates are still high.”

The re­port found that although the over­all preva­lence of bul­ly­ing has been de­clin­ing in Amer­i­can schools over the past decade, 21 per cent of stu­dents aged be­tween 12 and 18 re­ported be­ing bul­lied in 2015, slightly be­low the in­ter­na­tional av­er­age.

The pic­ture was bleaker for gay, les­bian and bi­sex­ual stu­dents, with 34 per cent of stu­dents who iden­ti­fied as LGBT com­plained of bul­ly­ing, compared to 19 per cent who iden­ti­fied as het­ero­sex­ual.

“It’s a high num­ber and a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber in com­par­i­son,” said Charol Shake­shaft, an ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sor at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Uni­ver­sity.

“We have a lot of ho­mo­pho­bic bias and it plays it­self in schools.”

The re­port also found a sig­nif­i­cant rise in re­ports of sex­ual as­sault on uni­ver­sity cam­puses.

Such in­stances jumped from 2,200 in 2001 to 6,700 in 2014.

How­ever, Musu-Gil­lette cau­tioned that it was not clear from the re­search whether the num­ber of ac­tual sex crimes has in­creased or whether vic­tims now feel safer re­port­ing them to au­thor­i­ties. AP

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