Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One in three California students reported being bullied | EdSource

One in three California students reported being bullied | EdSource:

One in three California students reported being bullied

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One in three California middle school and high school students reported having been harassed or bullied at least once in the previous year, according to new data from a statewide student survey.
Thirty-four percent of students in grades 7, 9 and 11 said they had been bullied one or more times, according to the 2011-13 California Healthy Kids Survey, which is administered by the California Department of Education. That rate is roughly the same as the 33 percent of students in those grades who reported having been bullied in the 2009-11 California Healthy Kids Survey, although that survey used different methodology. (See map below for county-by-county data on bullying reported in 2011-13 by seventh graders.)
Nationally, the percentage of students who report having been bullied has decreased slightly or remained the same in recent years, said John Kelly, a board member of the National Association of School Psychologists, a Maryland-based membership organization.
In recent years, widely publicized bullying incidents, including the anti-gay harassment of Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old gay student from Tehachapi who committed suicide in 2010, have led to federal and state laws, including Assembly Bill 9, known as Seth’s Law, in California, that require schools to do more to protect student safety. Studies have found that schools can reduce bullying through research-based approaches that build relationships and social skills, establish behavior norms and foster empathy.
“It’s a lot about how classroom culture is set up,” said Bridget Early, a social worker at Everett Middle School in San Francisco. “You’ve got to have a skilled, socially intelligent teacher in the classroom,” she said. “When kids say mean things, the teacher can squash it right then.”
At Everett, she said, classroom teachers hold weekly classroom circles to check in with students on topics including bullying, are coached to create a welcoming environment including greeting students with a smile, and use social and emotional strategies as part of classroom instruction. One such strategy is the Good Behavior Game, in which middle school students and teachers decide which classroom behaviors they’d like to see reduced, such as talking out of turn, and then teams of students compete to follow the rule and win a prize. The Good Behavior Game has been widely studied and proven to have long-term effects on students’ mental health, alcohol and drug use and smoking.
The bullying data come as school districts in California are newly required by the State Board of Education to create a written plan for a positive “school climate,” to be measured by surveying students, teachers and parents about their sense of safety at school, among other indicators. These efforts must be part of districts’ three-year planning documents, known as Local Control and Accountability Plans, which first took One in three California students reported being bullied | EdSource: