Study Says Bullying Is Declining In Schools

By Erika Hanson | Published


Ask almost any parent, and they will tell you that schools are rife with issues of bullying. It’s said to be increasing suicide rates, and what’s more, the internet has greatly exacerbated the problem. But despite all this, data shows a downward trend in rates of this harassing behavior in schools. But is this information painting a realistic view?

In a new study conducted at Boston University’s Wheelock Educational Policy Center, researchers discovered that the rates of reported bullying instances inside school buildings drastically dropped after the spring of 2020. Shockingly, instances like this dropped somewhere between 30 and 40%. Even more surprising to many, cyberbullying rates dropped during this time as well.

At first look, many skeptics might credit the drop in in-person bullying to the rise of instances in which kids are harassing each other on social media accounts. However, even cyberbullying went on a downward trend in the last two years. According to information from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), at least one out of five students reported being victims of this online hate before the onset of the pandemic. Now, only about one in six students say they are victims of cyber attacks.

There are a lot of control factors that need to be considered in this finding. For in-school bullying, those are obvious. Many schools remained closed for extended periods of time during the last two school years. With children not in school, of course, school officials would be reporting far fewer instances of this during the last few years. 

However, the reports about cases of cyberbullying declining is surprising to many. More kids are on social media than ever before. On average, they can spend up to seven hours a day scrolling through these apps. Much of this time is said to be spent mocking, and bullying their peers. However, some critics feel that school openings still play into reports of online bullies as well. After all, students are more likely to report social media happenings to a trusted teacher or counselor while attending school.

While this falling trend is promising, there is still much work to be done. It will never be eradicated in its entirety, as school bullying has been around for as long as schools have existed. Despite all this information, many fear that the overall climate surrounding schools and contentious battles over what is being taught is only going to make the matter worse. This year, parents and lawmakers have vehemently lashed out at schools that support LGBTQ efforts, oftentimes claiming teachers are indoctrinating or grooming students.


Additionally, more bills than ever before have made their way through states looking to restrict gender identity discussions and transgender rights in sports and facility access. Critics fear that this is putting a target on LGBTQ students. Concurrently, another recently published study focused on LGBTQ students in Colorado, and detailed grave statistics, like that the majority of them feel alienated at their schools. 

Regardless, it should be celebrated that trends seem to depict that bullying across the board is less of a problem than it was a few years ago. But this doesn’t mean that there is any less of a need for parents, peers, and educators to look for the signs of harassment, as it can have detrimental effects on a kid’s well-being. If anything, this data serves as a reminder that even the smallest, kind words can have a life-lasting impact.