Three out of 10 teen girls are bullied. That’s according to a new survey of more than 180,000 students in grades 5 through 12 from 37 states. The survey found that an old axiom about bullying is still true: One in four students experiences bullying. But it might not be the most helpful way to think about bullying, because certain students are especially vulnerable, and need extra protection.
Girls are bullied more often than boys—30 percent of girls experience it, compared with 22 percent of boys. Students who identify their gender in any other way have it worst of all, and are twice as likely as their peers to be bullied. Across all those groups, students say they were bullied most often because of their race, sexual orientation, or the way they look—ugh.
When bullying has been in the news recently, it’s usually because we’re usually talking about the President—double ugh. And a separate survey from the University of California, Los Angeles, that was released last week found that more than half of public high school teachers have seen a spike in their students’ stress and anxiety since Donald Trump took office in January. Nearly 80 percent of teachers said students had told them they felt concerned about their well-being because of issues in the news (think: Muslim ban, DACA repeal, white nationalist rallies).
No matter the reason for it, bullying is bad for everybody. Victims are at greater risk for anxiety and depression, and the bullies themselves have a higher risk of substance abuse and violence later in life.
The good news is that students who think bullying is wrong can make a big difference. One study from researchers at Princeton, Rutgers and Yale Universities found that when kids—especially the so-called cool kids—call out bullies for their bad behavior, there’s less harassment at school.