Study Find Bullying In Maryland Is Down, But Still Present

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The effects of bullying can be tough for students and their families, even leading to death.

For the past ten years, one national study has focused on what’s being done in our area that is causing those rising numbers to fall.

From the classrooms and hallways of schools, to online, bullying has been a problem for a lot of communities and families across the county.

When it comes to fixing this rising issue, many people may turn to what’s being done at a Howard County school.

At Howard High School in Ellicott City, the day begins with a little virtual encouragement filled with pride of one’s self and fellow students.

“Pride, punctuality, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence. These are characteristics and traits that we feel like every student should be embracing and modeling in their daily lives,” said principal Nick Novak.

Novak says these virtues help students battle bullying.

Strategies can be as simple as encouraging kids to say hello to each other.

“People in Howard [County] are more likely to be inclusive and to be able to talk to people and respect people in, everybody in their class not just who they are friends with,” said student Emma Griffith.

The study is based on following nearly 250,000 Maryland children – grades 4 through 12 – for ten years.

Researchers found those who reported being victims decreased from 29 percent to 13 percent.

Back in 2005, 22 percent of kids being bullied were physically hit, and 6 percent were being cyberbullied. By 2014, those numbers dropped to 5 percent and 4 percent.

“We have a lot of work left to do. We don’t want to take our foot off the gas as it relates to focus on school climate and prevention and using evidence based practices, so by no means is bullying checked off the list,” said study co-author Catherine Brandshaw.

A large part of the decrease is credited to encouraging kids. If they see something, say something.

The study followed students at 109 schools in Maryland, and while many still experienced bullying, 80 percent of the students say they feel safe while at school.

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