The Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute of Ethics conducted a survey with 43,000 high school students, asking them whether they had been physically or emotionally abused in a seriously upsetting way.
The research found that 43% of the participants reported having been bullied; 50% admitted to having been the bully. The findings indicate that far more bullying occurs at later stages than experts previously thought. Indeed, bullying seems to continue in full force through high school.
Michael Josephson, President of the Institute of Ethics, says that the Internet’s reach and permanence have intensified the effects of bullying. The results are not surprising, according to Mr. Josephson, but are nevertheless cause for concern.
One of the more worrying results was the finding that 10% of teenagers have brought a weapon to school at least once. 16% admitted to having been drunk at school. These statistics suggest that victims of bullying may strike back violently.
The study comes at the end of a year that saw several high-profile bullying-related suicides. As part of an anti-bullying effort, the US Department of Education has sent letters to schools, colleges and universities all over the country, warning them that failure to adequately address any form of harassment could represent a violation of federal anti-discriminatory laws.