Bul­ly­ing still ram­pant in NZ, study shows


Fif­teen-year-olds in New Zealand are re­port­ing the sec­ond-high­est rate of bul­ly­ing out of 51 coun­tries - a statis­tic the Chil­dren’s Com­mis­sioner has blasted as ‘‘ut­terly un­ac­cept­able and deeply dis­turb­ing’’.

The find­ing is in­cluded in the third vol­ume of data to be pub­lished from the OECD’s lat­est three-yearly sur­vey as part of the Pro­gramme for In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent As­sess­ment (Pisa) car­ried out in 2015.

Sur­vey an­swers from New Zealand showed just over a quar­ter of the stu­dents tak­ing part re­ported be­ing sub­ject to some type of bul­ly­ing at least a few times a month.

That in­cluded 6.7 per cent who re­ported be­ing hit or pushed around by other stu­dents, 8.3 per cent who were threat­ened, and 6.3 per cent who said other stu­dents took or de­stroyed things that belonged to them.

Pisa con­sid­ered just un­der one in five of the New Zealand stu­dents as meet­ing the cri­te­ria for be­ing de­scribed as fre­quently bul­lied, com­pared to the OECD av­er­age of 8.9 per cent.

Among the Kiwi stu­dents, 12.8 per cent re­ported be­ing left out or hav­ing stu­dents spread nasty ru­mours about them, and 17.4 per cent said other stu­dents made fun of them and 12.8 per cent said other stu­dents spread nasty ru­mours about them.

Chil­dren’s Com­mis­sioner Judge An­drew Be­croft said bul­ly­ing rates in New Zealand were un­ac­cept­ably high and should cause deep shame.

‘‘It’s ut­terly un­ac­cept­able and deeply dis­turb­ing to see the rel­a­tively high rates of re­ported bul­ly­ing, rel­a­tive to the rest of the world,’’ Be­croft said.

Asked whether he thought the report gave a fair in­di­ca­tion of rates of bul­ly­ing in New Zealand com­pared to other coun­tries, he said it was a fair ques­tion but he was not a statis­ti­cian and could not com­ment on that as­pect of the sur­vey.

‘‘We have to start from the fact that’s what New Zealand chil­dren are say­ing,’’ Be­croft said.

The Pisa pro­gramme was rep­utable and did say that by and large New Zealand was do­ing well in terms of stu­dent well­be­ing. ‘‘Kids are en­gaged, mo­ti­vated to be en­gaged, and sup­ported in their achieve­ment in school.’’

But the rates of re­ported bully- ing should per­plex New Zealan­ders and cause us to ask why they were high.

‘‘That’s a ques­tion whole coun­try,’’ he said.

‘‘It's ut­terly un­ac­cept­able and deeply dis­turb­ing ’’

for the


Bul­lied stu­dents are more likely to skip classes, drop out of school and per­form worse aca­dem­i­cally.

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