By Cat Koo
25 October 2010
Read the full article online, BBC News
A global report on school violence identifies bullying as the biggest problem in US school playgrounds.
Slut. Fat. Gay. Those are some common words – weapons – America’s youth uses to target each other in bullying.
A global report released on Monday by children’s development organisation Plan International gauges the economic impact of school violence, which it categorised as corporal punishment, sexual abuse and bullying.
The US pays a high price for its youth violence, both in and out of schools. Plan estimated the total cost of all forms of youth violence at $158bn (£100bn).
At schools around the world, the playground is far from the innocent haven where the ring of a school bell signals the start of children’s laughter.
Instead, for too many, it becomes an ugly arena where spectators can watch youngsters pit themselves against each other.
Some 20% to 65% of children worldwide say they suffer from bullying, but that proportion may be higher because school violence is "notoriously under-reported", the report says.
In the US, around a fifth of high school students said they experienced repeated, intentional bullying, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
"Younger kids are more likely to be bullied and prevalence tends to be higher in middle school," said Marci Hertz, an adviser at CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.
Bullying also tends to be higher among girls, she says.
"It seems to be a very pervasive problem."
Indeed, the prevalence of bullying is so high that CDC treats it as a public health issue.
"As a result of being bullied, you don’t attend school, you’re losing the opportunity to learn," says Julie Hertzog, director of the National Center for Bullying Prevention run by the Pacer children’s organisation.
One way that Plan calculated the cost of school violence was to look at the potential income a person lost because of missed schooling.
Continue reading “The high price of bullying in the US”