North Carolina students one-third more likely than students nationwide to say that bullying is a problem in schools
New York, NY – GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, today released “From Teasing to Torment: A Profile of School Climate in North Carolina,” which provides a rare look into students’ experiences with bullying and harassment as well as their attitudes about this serious problem. The results are based on students in North Carolina who were surveyed as part of a national study of secondary school students and teachers conducted by Harris Interactive®.
Results from the survey demonstrate that bullying is far too common in North Carolina schools:
- Nearly half (48%) of all North Carolina students thought that bullying was a somewhat or serious problem in their schools, and less than half (38%) reported feeling very safe at school.
- Bullying, name-calling and harassment because of appearance, actual or perceived sexual orientation, and gender expression occurred frequently in North Carolina schools. Most commonly reported was harassment based on appearance. Eight out of ten students reported that people at their school were harassed due to appearance, seven out of ten said students were harassed because they were or were thought to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and three out of four said students were harassed because of their gender expression.
- A majority (78%) of North Carolina students reported hearing homophobic remarks such as, “that is so gay” to indicate bad or worthless; and derogatory terms like “faggot” were heard by 84% of students.
- Surprisingly, many students heard biased language from school staff. Seventeen percent (17%) of students heard homophobic and sexist remarks, 16% heard negative religious remarks, and 12% heard racist remarks from faculty and other staff.
- Four in ten students who experienced harassment or assault at school did not report it to a teacher, principal or other school staff person. Of those that did report incidents, less than half (47%) reported that some immediate action was taken by school staff to address the situation.
“Bullying and harassment are clearly significant issues in North Carolina schools,” said Anne Krieg, board member of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Glenn High School in Kernersville, NC. “It is time that parents, teachers, students, school administrators and legislators work together to make sure schools are safer for all students.”
Less than half (44%) of North Carolina students reported that they were protected by a school anti-harassment policy that specifically mentioned sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. About a fourth were not sure if their school provided any anti-harassment protections at all.
“It is time to listen to our students and teachers and make some changes in North Carolina schools,” said Kevin Jennings, a North Carolina native and Founder and Executive Director of GLSEN. “Training sessions can help teachers assess and respond to incidents of verbal and physical harassment and state-level safe school legislation that include specific categories can help ensure that North Carolina’s schools are safe for all students.”
Harris Interactive® conducted the online study on behalf of GLSEN between January 13 and 31, 2005. A total of 3,450 U.S. public and private/parochial students ages 13 to 18 were surveyed. Within this sample, an oversample of students was drawn from several states including North Carolina. A total of 158 respondents attended schools in North Carolina at the time of the survey. Sample was drawn from the Harris Interactive multimillion member online panel of cooperative respondents. 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 for the national survey 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’s 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).
In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population of U.S. youth aged 13 to 18 who attend public or private/parochial school had been polled with complete accuracy. This online sample is not a probability sample.
Note: The data for this survey were collected by Harris Interactive on behalf of GLSEN. Harris Interactive and GLSEN are jointly responsible for the survey design. Harris Interactive is responsible for the online data collected, and the weighting and analysis of the national data and GLSEN is responsible for the North Carolina data analysis and reporting. State specific data including that which is presented in this report does not reflect the postweight mentioned previously.
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’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
About Harris Interactive®
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® and for pioneering and engineering Internet-based research methods. The Rochester, New York–based 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’s 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.