Online or at school, a large share of Connecticut students report being repeatedly teased, threatened, hit, shoved, or being made the subject of rumors — in a word: bullied.
That’s according to the National Center for Education Statistics “Indicators Of School Crime And Safety: 2015,” published this month, which combines survey data on a range of topics relating to school safety. Most of the data are nationwide figures; we focused on the data sets that were broken down by state.
In Connecticut, one in five students were reportedly being bullied on school property in 2011 and 2013, and one in six reported being bullied online in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. “Bullying” was defined for respondents as “when one or more students tease, threaten, spread rumors about, hit, shove, or hurt another student over and over again.”
In both categories, Connecticut was in the top half of the list, which included data from about 40 states. In both 2011 and 2013, Connecticut had the 17th-highest rate of at-school bullying, with 21.6 and 21.9 percent of students saying they experienced bullying. The nationwide rates in 2011 and 2013 were 20.1 and 19.6 percent.
In 2011, Connecticut’s 16.3 percent online bullying rate was very close to the national rate of 16.2 percent, but Connecticut’s rose to 17.5 percent in 2013, while the nationwide rate fell to 14.8 percent. In 2011, Connecticut law put online bullying within the realm of school discipline. But because these data are based on responses, not school-reported statistics, it shouldn’t be skewed by state-to-state differences in how schools identify and report bullying.
The report’s data tables include state-by-state data on guns at school, threats to students, threats to teachers and drug availability.
Guns in schools
Nationwide, there were between 1,333 and 1,749 incidents of students bringing guns to school between 2009-10 and 2013-14. In Connecticut, there were between 7 and 29 incidents per year during the same period.
Compared to other incidents in the report, guns in schools were relatively rare, described in terms of incidents per 100,000 students. In some years guns showed up in Connecticut schools less frequently than in schools across the nation, but in other years, Connecticut outpaced the national rate, as was the case in 2012-13, the year of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Unlike bullying data, which came from surveys, gun incidents were reported by schools.