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Bullying Up Slightly in Arlington Public Schools

Students are reporting more incidents of bullying at Arlington’s public schools, according to the 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is expected to be officially released later this month.

According to the survey, which was summarized at a school board meeting last week, 22 percent of students surveyed said they have been a victim of bullying, compared to 19 percent in 2007 and 22 percent in 2004.

Twenty-seven percent of 6th graders say they’ve been bullied, compared to 22 percent in 2007 and 33 percent in 2004. Twelve percent of 6th graders said they were the victim of cyberbullying in the past year.

Bullying is most prevalent in 8th grade, with 28 percent of students saying they’ve been bullied.

Bullying becomes less common past middle school, the survey found. Twenty-one percent of 10th graders and 14 percent of 12th graders reported being bullied.

Among 6th graders, 27 percent reported having possessions stolen or damaged at school, 7 percent reported missing school because it “felt unsafe,” and 35 percent reported being involved in a fight. The results were all above 2007 levels, but below 2004 levels.

The Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families, which conducts the survey, concluded that more intervention is necessary to fight bullying, especially in 6th and 8th grade.

Among all grade levels surveyed, more students than ever said they believed that adults would help with their bullying problem. Seventy-six percent of 6th graders, 67 percent of 8th graders, 65 percent of 10th graders and 72 percent of 12th graders agreed with the statement “if I tell an adult about bullying, they will try to help.”

Last week two state legislators who represent parts of Arlington introduced bills to make bullying a crime in Virginia and to better equip public schools to protect bullying victims.

The Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families declined a request from ARLnow.com to release the full results of the survey before the group briefs the Arlington County Board on Jan. 26.

Flickr pool photo (top) by Chris Rief

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