New Survey Illustrates Severity of Problem, and Identifies Frequent Targets of Verbal and Physical Harassment
New York, NY %96 GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, today released %93From Teasing to Torment: A Report on School Climate in Ohio,%94 which provides a rare look into student experiences with bullying and harassment, and their attitudes about this serious problem in Ohio schools. The results are based on students in Ohio who were surveyed as part of a national survey of secondary school students and teachers conducted by Harris Interactive%AE on behalf of GLSEN.
%93Bullying and harassment are clearly significant issues in Ohio schools,%94 said Kathy Laufman of Cincinnati GLSEN. %93It is time that parents, teachers, students, school administrators and legislators work together to make sure schools are safer for all students.%94
Results from the survey demonstrate that bullying is common in Ohio schools, and the basis for which students are frequent targets of verbal and physical harassment:
- Nearly half (42%) of Ohio students reported that bullying, name-calling, and harassment were serious problems in their schools, and nearly one-fifth (17%) reported that these were very serious problems.
- The percentage of students in Ohio who thought that bullying was a somewhat or serious problem in their schools was higher than the national sample (42% vs. 36%).
- A majority of participants said that bullying occurred at least some of the time because of physical appearance/body size (69%), perceived sexual orientation (60%), and gender expression, e.g., a girl who %93acts like a boy%94, (58%).
- The two most commonly cited types of biased language in Ohio schools were sexist language and homophobic language. Sexist language, such as calling a girl a %93bitch,%94 calling a boy a %93girl%94 or statements that girls are not as capable as boys were heard by 79% of respondents at least some of the time. Homophobic remarks such as %93faggot,%94 %93dyke,%94 or %93queer,%94 were heard by 70% of respondents at least some of the time.
Overall, the frequency of bullying reported by Ohio students was similar to the national sample with two exceptions. Students in Ohio reported a lower frequency of harassment based on religion, but a higher frequency based on family income.
The majority of Ohio students who experience harassment in school never report these incidents of harassment to teachers or other school personnel. Nearly two-thirds (66%) said that they never reported the incident(s) to a teacher, principal, or other school staff member. Among students who reported at least one incident, nearly a third (27%) said that school personnel did not take the steps to correct the problem or ensure that it would not occur again.
%93Everyone agrees that we want our students to be safe, so it is time to listen to students and teachers and make some changes in Ohio schools,%94 said Kevin Jennings, Founder and Executive Director of GLSEN. %93Training sessions can help teachers assess and respond to incidents of verbal and physical harassment, and state-level safe school legislation that provides for specific categories can help ensure that Ohio%92s schools are safe for all students.%94
Student interviews were conducted online by a nationally representative sample of 3,450 public and private/parochial students ages 13 to 18. Within this sample, an oversample of students was drawn from several states including Florida. A total of 195 respondents attended schools in Florida at the time of the survey. Interviews averaged 15 minutes and were conducted between January 13 and January 31, 2005. Sample was drawn from the Harris Poll Online (HPOL) multimillion member online panel of cooperative respondents from over 100 countries. Invitations for this study were emailed to a selected sample of the database identified as residing in the United States and being a student between the ages of 13 and 18. Data were weighted to reflect the national population of children ages 13 to 18 for key demographic variables (gender, age, race and ethnicity, size of place, region, and parent%92s education). A post weight was applied to the student data to adjust for the 12 state oversampling so that the regional distribution reflects the nation as a whole. Demographic weights were based on U.S. Census data obtained via the March 2004 Current Population Survey (CPS).
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN%92s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
About Harris Interactive%AE
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com) is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, perhaps best known for The Harris Poll%AE and for pioneering and engineering Internet-based research methods. The Rochester, New York%96based global research company blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application, conducting proprietary and public research globally to help clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
Blending science and art, Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital and one of the world%92s largest online panels of respondents, with premier Internet survey technology and sophisticated research methods to market leadership through its US, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiary, Novatris in Paris (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies.