U.S. Department of Education releases bullying data, local expert weighs in

Local News

A new U.S. Department of Education survey compares bullying numbers from 2007 to 2015.

It’s unclear why the numbers were released in 2018 instead of closer to 2015. 

The U.S. Department of Education says the overall number of students reporting they’ve been bullied is down.However, there is an increase in the percentage of students reporting bullying to adults instead of keeping it to themselves. 

That means that students will sometimes say they’ve been bullied in a survey, but will never actually tell and adult. 

Debbie Matheson, the executive director of the Family Violence Prevention Center in Greene County is combing over bullying data from local schools and comparing it to the national data. 

“We are challenging the students, encouraging the students. We are pre-testing them. Post-testing them to see what kind of information they are gathering out of what we present,” said Matheson. 

The Family Violence Prevention Center works with students between grades 7-12. 

They focus on personal relationships and how they could translate into bullying.

“It can all lead to bullying-type behavior,” said Matheson. 

Matheson was happy to see more students are reporting bullying instead of keeping quiet. 

“It’s an indicator that we like to see. That students feel comfortable reaching out to the adults in the system.”

The most recent data from 2015 says 43 percent of students told a teacher or parent about being bullied compared to 36 percent in 2007.

Matheson says these surveys take time and require full cooperation from schools.

“Making sure that school districts don’t feel afraid if there is a bullying report, that it’s a bad mark. It just means that the district  is willing to acknowledge there is a problem,” said Matheson. 

The Family Violence Prevent Center says they are also seeing students in both middle and high schools reporting more bullying and unwanted sexual advances in relationships.

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