Students bullying each other has been an issue for as long as there have been large-scale educational facilities. Bullying can start as early as preschool or kindergarten, but it often begins in earnest during middle school and high school. Technically, Florida has a statute on the books prohibiting bullying. Educational institutions should employ a zero-tolerance approach to scenarios in which some students make others feel unwelcome or attacked while attending class.
Despite the laws that the Sunshine State has implemented, bullying remains a relatively significant issue for high school students in Florida. A child enduring bullying may have worse grades or could develop mental health challenges because of what they experience at school.
How common is bullying among high school students in Florida?
According to a report from the Florida Department of Health, some high schoolers are at higher risk of bullying than others. Female students report experiencing bullying at a higher rate than male students. 37.1% of female respondents said they had endured bullying in the last 12 months, while only 28.9% of male students made the same claim.
Grades seemed to factor into the likelihood of bullying. Those who reported earning mostly B’s and C’s had lower rates of bullying than those who earned mostly A’s. Students who self-reported mostly D’s and F’s also reported substantially higher rates of bullying.
Younger high school students also reported more bullying than older students. Among freshman, 38.2% of students reported experienced bullying. That dropped to 33.1% of sophomores, 31.3% of juniors and 27.8% of seniors. Race also seemed to play a factor, as white students reported higher rates of bullying than Hispanic or black students. Overall, roughly 33% of the students who responded or 256,600 teenagers, had experienced bullying within the last year.
Parents who want to protect their teens from the negative consequences of bullying may need to take a few steps. Regular communication with a high school student about their daily experience can help adults identify when bullying has become an issue. They may then need to advocate for their child by reaching out to teachers or administrators.
Realizing that bullying affects roughly a third of all high school students in Florida may help parents be more proactive about protecting their teens. Those who feel that the situation has gotten out of control may benefit from seeking legal guidance.