Victims of Bullying Suffer Academically

High achieving Black and Latino students are hit the hardest

(RxWiki News) Childhood and adolescent bullying, particularly at school, is a growing problem for our youth. Since the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, the severity and tragic consequences of bullying has received more attention.

For kids who are bullied at school, the abuse can often have hugely negative influences on grades and achievement at school.

"Watch for signs of bullying, especially when grades drop."

Bullying has implications for its victims regardless of racial, ethnic or socioeconomic background, but research from Ohio State University shows that it seems to be especially detrimental for high achieving black and Latino students.

Lisa Williams, a doctoral student at OSU and co-author of the study, says the effects are worse for this group of students. Williams and Anthony Peguero studied data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, which consisted of 9.590 students from 580 different schools that was divided among Asian, Latino, black and white representation. The researchers monitored the students' grade point averages from the prior year and through the 2003-2004 school year, covering 9th through 12th grades.

Those students who had reported being bullied in the 10th grade experienced an average .049 decrease in their 12th grade GPA. But most striking, Williams said, was the GPA drop among black students of .3 and the drop of .5 for Latino students. White students who were bullied, by comparison, showed a .03 decrease in GPA by 12t grade.

"Stereotypes about black and Latino youth suggest that they perform poorly in school. High achieving blacks and Latinos who do not conform to these stereotypes may be especially vulnerable to the effect bullying has on grades," Williams said.

She recommends that educators and policy-makers consider the effect bullying has on student academic performance, particularly among minorities. The study was presented at the August 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Research presented at academic meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
August 31, 2011