The concept of bullying is not a new one. Nearly everyone has seen examples of bullying in action. Those that have not, are still familiar with examples through literature, movies, and music. While some of those portrayals demonstrate the common stereotype of the schoolyard bully physically beating up another child, research has shown that physical abuse is not the only form of bullying suffered in our schools. In fact, verbal abuse, which can manifest in a variety of ways from harassment and insults based on external characteristics to the spreading of rumors, is actually the most common. In addition, with the increased emphasis of online social activity, cyber bullying has become a swiftly increasing cause for concern.
So what does that mean for North Dakota specifically? The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) monitors the prevalence of priority health-risk behaviors among middle and high school students. Bullying is one of the behaviors tracked by the survey (e.g., bullied on school property and electronically bullied).
According to the 2013 YRBS survey, in North Dakota, 52 percent of middle school students have ever been bullied on school property. The percent who have ever been electronically bullied was 28 percent, with a significant difference between females (39%) and males (17%).