Newswise — Despite the common misperception that bullying at school takes place only in unsupervised locations, new research suggests that the classroom setting is one of the places where bullying is the biggest problem.

The study, which was presented at the American Public Health Association’s 137th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia, used anonymous online surveys conducted with more than 10,000 middle school students to look at where bullying takes place within schools.

Students reported being victims of many types of bullying behaviors. Within the most recent month, 43 percent had been physically bullied; 51 percent teased in an unfriendly way; 50 percent called hurtful names; 31 percent excluded from a group to hurt their feelings; 28 percent had belongings taken or broken; 39 percent had an unkind rumor spread about them; and 21 percent were threatened to be hurt. Additionally, 66 percent of the middle school students had been the victim of multiple bullying behaviors during the last month.

During the school year, 8 percent had skipped school at least once due to fear of others hurting or making fun of them. One out of every four students had skipped recess, not gone to the bathroom, lunch or a class, pretended to be sick and went home, or avoided a hallway or some other place at school to get away from a bully.

The researchers found that the classroom, lunchroom and hallways at school were the places where victimization was most prevalent (50 percent to 57 percent of all students in each of these settings) compared to all other areas where prevalence of victims was much lower (19 percent to 37 percent).

The researchers also found that being bullied in the classroom as compared with being bullied in other areas of the school was associated with a greater tendency among students to feel threatened and unsafe at school.

“These findings show that it is erroneous to think of the classroom as a safe haven from bullying and to think that more remote or less monitored areas of school are necessarily the greatest risk for students,” said H. Wesley Perkins, PhD, lead researcher on the study.

Session 5129.0 - Where does bullying take place among adolescents when they are at school?

Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 – 11:00 AM

Researchers: H. Wesley Perkins, PhD; Jessica M. Perkins, MS; and David W. Craig, PhD

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