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