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Sobering Bullying Statistics

The following is a post about one way that Dance Out Loud has created programming to address bullying before it begins.  We are in the midst of launching our P.E.A.C.E. program, and we can’t wait to tell you about it.  It stands for Peace Education and Arts Creation for Every child, everywhere, and we will be talking about it a lot over the coming months as we implement the program in various ways with our partner schools and school districts.

The following are some statistics on bullying that were compiled by  You can read them, but be forewarned; they are painful.  To learn more about what you can do to help prevent bullying, we will post some blogs about strategies that work and what the research shows to be effective.  For now, you can go to to get some helpful tips and definitions.


  • It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.
  • American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
  • 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
  • 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
  • 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
  • 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
  • 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
  • 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
  • Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
  • Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.
  • Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
  • 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
  • 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.
  • 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
  • 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
  • According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.
  • Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.

Research shows that children who have high self-worth and coping skills are less likely to bully or to be bullied.  It also shows that children who learn how to be advocates for themselves and others, rather than bystanders, are changing the face of bullying. In Alameda Unified School District, for example, there is an anti-bullying campaign that addresses the bullied, the bully and the bystander, and helps to give them all tools to stop bullying behavior.  The KiVa program in Finland is shown to decrease bullying across the board for all ages of school students (  We at Dance Out Loud believe that children who are taught to value themselves, each other, and the world we live in are less likely to engage in any side of the bullying triangle.

Three years ago we started an LGBTQ playgroup for Queer families and their 0-5 year olds.  The play group, which was funded by San Francisco grants facilitated by the Center (the GLBT center in San Francisco), was started at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center in the Castro District of San Francisco.  It still goes on, and has been adopted as the official Center Playgroup for Queer families.

It wasn’t an easy start; we were a new collaborative team of lay people and professionals and it wasn’t always clear who was accountable for getting results, but it worked and we started it. After many meetings and phone calls and emails, we got it started in April of 2009.

And, also in April of 2009, two eleven year olds committed suicide after being taunted and being called ‘gay’ among other things.  The news hit all of us–especially those of us with young children–painfully in the gut.  And though devastating, the news confirmed that we were on the right path.  We needed to create safe spaces for Queer families, and for children of Queer families.  We needed to show that love makes a family, and teach respect and love for one another from the earliest of ages.  No more would the word ‘gay’ be a taunt, we vowed.  And though our vow was not strong enough to prevent every possible act of violence against children by children, we did succeed in creating a safe space for those families and their children.  May we continue to do so, one child, one family, one school at a time.

To find out more about our new P.E.A.C.E. program, or to invite us to your school, home or center, please write or call…

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