Report: The Economic Costs of Bullying at School


Russell, S.T., Talmage, C., Laub, C., & Manke, E. ; California Safe Schools Coalition




California Safe Schools Coalition


To document harassment and associated problems for youth and schools, we examine data from the 2001-2002 California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). The CHKS is designed by WestEd under contract from the California Department of Education and administered by school districts. The 2001-2002 data analyzed for this study included 7th, 9th, and 11th graders. A total of 237,544 students answered the question about whether they had been harassed or bullied at school because they were gay or lesbian or someone thought they were. In addition, the survey asked students how many times in the past year they had been bullied on school property and defined bullying as “being repeatedly shoved, hit, threatened, called mean names, teased in a way you didn’t like, or had other unpleasant things done to you. It is not bullying when two students of about the same strength quarrel or fight.” In an optional module that a subset of schools administered, students were asked: “During the past 30 days, on how many days did you not go to school because you felt unsafe at school or on your way to or from school?” A total of 49,052 students answered two questions about 1) missing school because they felt unsafe and 2) being bullied because of actual or perceived sexual orientation.The California Safe Schools Coalition’s Safe Schools Policy Survey was designed to improve understanding of successes and challenges in local efforts to create safe schools and reduce harassment in schools. In the summer of 2004 we mailed surveys to every school district in the state. We received responses from 359, or approximately 36% (out of 1219) of the districts in California, representing 3,478,000 students or 56% of the students in California schools.


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