Fresh Eye on the Radio: Exit the bully

The U.S. Justice Department reports today that the percentage of children who reported being physically bullied over the past year, had declined from nearly 22 percent in 2003 to under 15 percent in 2008.

The report’s authors say anti-bullying programs are working. But how do they know for sure? Even in some of the nation’s worst bullying incidents, like this one in Massachusetts, kids tend to keep their mouths shut on the subject.

But based on your high school experiences, do the percentages above seem low? That’s the discussion that leads today’s conversation with The Current’s Mary Lucia, who also asks, “why don’t you hear much about bullying in college?”

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  • Paula

    I actually don’t doubt that physical bullying is on the decline. I think, in general, our society is getting a little less physical, and that would be reflected in bullying, as well.

    However, that doesn’t mean bullying in general is on the decline. Physical bullying is only the tip of the iceberg.

    When I was in elementary school (I’m 23 now, so you can decide how long or not so long ago that was on your own), I was the child on the bottom of the totem pole. In small rural schools like mine, that means you have no friends and everyone picks on you, even the other unpopular kids. I was never physically bullied. No one ever touched me. But I hated going to school. I loved learning, yes, but I had a hard time putting up with the emotional bullying I got every day. At the age of nine, I contemplated suicide. Thankfully I didn’t attempt anything at that age.

    All that to say–sure, physical bullying may be on the decline. But does that mean school is any more of a positive place to be for children? I doubt it. Bullying still exists, it’s just changed into a less immediately-noticeable form.