Study finds bullying victims more likely to bring weapon to school

By: CBS
By: CBS

Atlanta, GA (CBS) - A new study based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says thousands of kids who say they're the victims of bullying are bringing some kind of weapon to school.

The report analyzes a detailed survey of 15,000 high school students who were asked questions about bullying. The survey, conducted by the CDC, found that 20 percent of those high school students reported being victims of bullying within the last 12 months.

Even more concerning to researchers: An estimated 250,000 bullying victims were carrying guns, knives or clubs to school within the last 30 days of the survey being conducted.

Senior investigator Dr. Andrew Adesman is with the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.

"They're telling us that there's practically one child in every classroom that's carrying a weapon," he said.

Adesman's research team also found that each of the following four risk factors increased the chance of a bullying victim carrying a weapon to school: If the student was not going to school due to feeling unsafe in school or on the way to school; had property stolen or damaged; had been threatened or injured with a weapon; and had been in a physical fight.

"This is a group that's not only traumatized psychologically, and they worry for themselves physically, but they also pose a threat to the rest of the student body," said Adesman.

The study showed that bullying victims were more likely to be from lower grades, female and white.

The study found that those who were bullying victims were more likely to carry a weapon to school than kids who were not bullied. It said 8.6 percent of bullying victims would take a weapon to school, compared to 4.7 percent of students who had not been bullied.

Sixteen-year-old Lisa Lovolos of Northeast Philadelphia brought a paring knife to school after months of being bullied. She was arrested and suspended for five days.

"I knew that I was wrong to have it, but I mean I felt like I needed something to protect myself," she said.

Adesman said that educators will need to do a better job of not only focusing on school bullies, but on their victims as well.
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