January 08, 2014

Think Name-Calling is Rare? Think Again.

Celebrate Kindness with GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week


“That’s not a problem at our school."

Sound familiar? It’s a reaction from adults that is all too common when it comes to name-calling, bullying, and harassment. Although there are many safe, supportive school communities, the reality is that most students regularly witness name-calling and other types of harassment from elementary school through high school. Here are the facts about name-calling in school.

Among elementary school students… 

  • 75% say that students at their school are called names, made fun of, or bullied on a regular basis.
  • 51% regularly hear other students make comments like “retard” or “spaz.”
  • 46% regularly hear other students say things like “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay.”

It appears that the name-calling and teasing that happens in elementary schools serves as a foundation for how students treat each other in secondary school. Name-calling and harassment continue as students get older.

Among middle and high school students…

  • 64% say that name-calling, bullying, or harassment is a serious problem at their school.
  • 68% say that students are regularly called names, bullied, or harassed at school because of their appearance or body size.
  • 60% regularly see their peers called names, bullied, or harassed because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

So why do so many adults still think that name-calling isn’t a problem? Students say that name calling and using biased remarks usually happens when educators aren't around.

Fortunately, students and educators can work together to create a culture of kindness at school, and celebrating No Name-Calling Week is great place to start.

No Name-Calling Week is January 20-24. You can learn more at glsen.org/nonamecallingweek.

Maddy Boesen

About Maddy Boesen

Maddy Boesen, M.A. is the Research Associate at GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

Find Your Chapter